Five new Klamath County Fire District 1 recruits practiced flame suppression in a Thursday morning live burn training at 5132 Miller Ave.
The recruits, Jesse Llanes, Jacob Conley, Jared Hooper, Kyle Brink and Brett Doshier, completed a series of small fire reaction drills inside the home to gain valuable real-life experience.
“There’s no better way to learn than with actual fire,” Doshier said. “A fire burning inside a building — it’s evolving very rapidly and we get to see that from start to finish.”
District 1 firefighter Nick Randall said burn training homes like the Miller Avenue one are often abandoned or donated by community members.
The Department of Environmental Quality checked homes for asbestos and other toxic materials before the district was allowed to burn, Miller said.
District 1 Operations Chief Matt Hitchcock said about 22 firemen participated in the exercise. He said Kingsley Fire and Oregon Department of Forestry also participated.
Klamath Falls Police Department officers also practiced forcible home entry by shotgun blast, Hitchcock said.
Throughout the morning, curious neighbors and passersby marveled as thickening smoke streamed out the home’s windows. As smoke grew heavy and gave way to angry flames, more onlookers gathered on porches and front laws across the neighborhood.
One man cruised past slowly in a dark blue truck with the window rolled down.
“You guys are really burning it down, huh!” he said.
Hitchcock said District 1 usually performs a few of these trainings per year.
“This is as close as you can get to danger in a safe environment,” Hitchcock said.