Members of Lewis County Fire District 2, based in Toledo, put their firefighting skills to the test Saturday during a live fire exercise on Sareault Rd., just north of town. These drills, intended to provide hands-on firefighting practice, take place regularly for the district thanks to the donations of properties from local residents willing to have their building burned down.
Firefighters practice detecting the level of smoke in a house by feeling for the warm spots on the door before entering. District Chief Grant Wiltbank said this may only be accomplished through sensing the heat with a bare hand, and advised firefighters to use the backs of their hands as an injury to the palm would render them unable to continue combating the fire.
Once inside, firefighters walked the hose into the house to find and extinguish the source of the fire, entering and exiting in two-person groups. They were advise to always walk facing the inside of the house, as they need to be aware of the potential hazards within.
Firefighters practice using a specialized foam to extinguish the flames. Similar to soap lather, the foam can be up to five times as effective at keeping down a fire as water, according to Wiltbank, as it can cling to surfaces longer and can potentially cover a wider area.
After the exercise, the house was allowed to be consumed by the fire and burn to the foundation. The owners of the house, which has been built in the 1930s, said they had been meaning to tear it down but were not in a position to conduct the demolition themselves.