GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Seven fire companies arrived at a home along Table Rock Road in Gettysburg on Sunday morning. They were fighting a fire intentionally set.
“It’s a training exercise where firefighters are able to, in a controlled way; get involved in an actual fire in an actual home," said Gettysburg Fire Department PIO, Russell McCutcheon.
This is the first time in about 12 years that a live fire training exercise has taken place in Gettysburg.
“Often times we are training in what we call a burn building. It's a concrete tower and those are great, they're wonderful for training. They have gas pipes running through," said McCutcheon.
McCutcheon says having a real structure to train in is critical. The training has been in the works since March. The home was donated by St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
"We've really done everything that we can do to make the structure as safe as we can," McCutcheon added.
"The education that firefighters get out of this is tremendous. There's really no other way to explain it other than being in a real fire," said Gettysburg Fire Department member and State Fire Instructor, Edward Mizenko.
The house was strategically lit on fire. The day involved learning to "size up" a fire, read smoke, check hose nozzles and more. Trainees and instructors worked together. Walk-throughs were completed to discuss outcomes with firefighters.
"It makes us better firefighters. It makes us better able to protect the citizens of Gettysburg," said McCutcheon.
Other fire departments covered the Gettysburg area so everyone was safe in case of an emergency during the training.