Firefighters Set House On Fire

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

October 9, 2005

Unattended candles are the blame for over 18,000 deaths each year, and local firefighters set a house on fire to teach fire prevention.

Firefighters did this thanks in part to a local resident who donated a home on newly purchased property.

Any time. Any place. A fire can strike, and with one call, firefighters respond.

"Each home you come to is different," said Chuck Pugh, Assistant Chief of the North Garden Volunteer Fire Department.

The home is real, the flames are real, but it's just a training exercise. Hands-on training for firefighters made possible by an Albemarle County resident.

"You rarely get the opportunity to train in a house. Most training is done in a classroom, and in the burn center off Interstate 64. When you get the opportunity to train in a structure, it just enhances your skills," added Pugh.

The donated home, set on 42 acres in Albemarle County, enhanced the skills of men and women from the Crozet, East Rivanna, and North Garden fire departments.

"You got to see how to put out a fire, see how it rolls over on you, see how quick everything can turn around and just be total chaos," said Angela Leadum, a firefighter with the North Garden Volunteer Fire Department.

Watching the house go up in flames wasn't only a lesson for firefighters, but it was also a sense of calm for one family.

"It was good that my kids could see it, because [now they] know that fire isn't all danger, and that they could see their dad and our friends at the fire department learning at the same time," said Laura Morris, a wife of a firefighter training inside the house.

The outdoor lesson was complete in just about two hours, when the frame of the house came crumbling down, leaving on the two chimneys left standing.

The exercise was part of National Fire Prevention Week which starts Sunday, October 9, and ends Saturday, October 15.

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