COUNTY FIRE TRAINING WITH REAL HOUSE FIRES IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

COUNTY FIRE TRAINING WITH REAL HOUSE FIRES IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Ever wondered how to best train future firefighters? The answer is easy: set them loose putting out real fires under controlled conditions. In a rare confluence of circumstances, the City of Twentynine Palms and San Bernardino County Fire Department are doing just that. Reporter David Haldane explains…

“Engine one, engine two, engine three. Respond to 6566 Yucca Trail for report of a fire in a garage.”

Engine one copies. Responding.”

As they pile out of the fire trucks, the smoke is hanging thick. Briefly they kneel in front of the blazing house pulling on their yellow helmets. Then advance toward it with fire hose in hand. The burning house is real. The only difference is that this inferno was started by the county fire department.

The neighborhood is typical of many in the Morongo Basin; nice two-bedroom homes with satellite dishes on their roofs. Except that it’s in the way of Project Phoenix, a planned redevelopment in Twentynine Palms. So, the city made the department an offer; burn those babies down.

City Manager Frank Luckino talks with County PIO officer Jay Hausman during live fire training Wednesday. Photo courtesy Gary Daigneault.

Photo courtesy Gary Daigneault.

Photo courtesy Gary Daigneault.

Photo courtesy David Haldane

Photo courtesy David Haldane

Photo courtesy David Haldane

Photo courtesy David Haldane

Photo courtesy David Haldane

“This is probably some of the best training we’ll ever receive in our career.” That’s Sean Call, 28, one of forty trainees putting out the fires scheduled to keep popping up through Friday. And what makes it so good?

“It’s the real thing.”

The controlled burns are expected to continue through tomorrow. If you see smoke and aren’t sure whether it’s coming from them, however, call 911.

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