CLACKAMAS, Ore. – It was an intense Saturday for Clackamas Fire District No. 1, as crews used an empty home for some real-life training.
Crews burned the home, on Southeast 90th Avenue, at various times for the training. The purpose is to put firefighters in very real situations. They practice interior fire attacks, water supply techniques, and exposure protection.
The burn is controlled at all times, and started with the help of a hay bale. When the fire is ready, crews act as though someone is living in the home, and calling for help.
“We’re going into fire attack we’re automatically pulling the line getting ready to go inside,” said Clackamas Fire Lt. Steve Hoffeditz. “It’s an opportunity to come out, and get our newer guys out, and have some real live fire training. “We just burn rooms, one at a time, and allow crews to come in and put them out.”
Video from inside the home, in the fire, shows the real danger crews are in as they enter the building. The smoke is so thick, you can't see what is in front of you.
Clackamas firefighters conduct these specialized trainings two to seven times a year, Lt. Hoffeditz said. Saturday’s empty home was donated by a landscape company, he said. They want to level it, to make more room for a parking lot.
Through it all, the clock is ticking, keeping track of response times. Firefighters say this is one of the most important things they look for while training, because it can save lives.
In September, they rescued a woman from a burning home in Happy Valley.
“From the time our crews got tapped out, got there and got the person out of the building, it was actually out a window, was a little over 6 minutes. That’s why we keep track of time,” said Lt. Hoffeditz. “We want to know if there’s things we can work on.”