THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) –Thomasville firefighters no longer have to travel hours to participate in live fire training. The city's Fire & Rescue crew completed construction on a new, Class A burn building at its station on South Pinetree Boulevard.
We were there as they tested the building for the first time Monday morning.
These firefighters used to travel to Forsyth to train in a safe and controlled environment. Now, they can train at home.
"We'll be able to do searches just like a house and keep our skills sharp so when we do have house fires we're prepared," says firefighter and engineer, Derek Knight.
Thomasville firefighters worked on and off-duty for nearly 8 months to complete their new burn building made out of cargo shipping boxes.
"They come in three boxes and we cut walls out of two, built rooms in them, put a stairwell in to make it a two-story with fire tiles to withstand the heat," Knight explained. "I'm excited that we've completed construction. Now we can get in here to train. Teach the younger guys what we learned."
But before live training exercises can begin, firefighters must test conditions inside the building. They used wooden pallets to set a fire and gauge temperatures.
"We found out that it only takes a couple pallets to get to the training temperature we're looking for," says Assistant Fire Chief Tim Connell.
The ideal training temperature is 250-degrees on the floor. Any higher and the firefighters will go into survival mode.
Connell explains, "When the temperatures get so high, the only thing you want to do is get out. You lose technique because it is so hot your body is telling you you've gotta get out. You don't listen to what the instructor's saying and you start making mistakes and people start getting hurt. So today was a great success."
And Thomasville plans to share their new burn building success with surrounding counties so they can all get state-mandated training without eating up their budgets in travel expenses.
In three weeks, Thomasville Fire & Rescue will hold its first full training in the new burn building. Senior firefighters will learn how to become fire control instructors so they can teach their new firefighters.