Pullman Fire Department blazes through live fire training – The Daily Evergreen
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Fire hoses kept flames under control; practice house was not near occupied structures

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MASON MARON

The land firefighters used for practice is city-owned and built in the 1940s or 50s.

Opportunities for the Pullman Fire Department to practice on structures in Pullman are rare, coming about once every five years, said Fire Chief Mike Heston said.

From 1-6:30 p.m. Monday afternoon on the 900 block of NW Guy Street, firefighters were able to receive live fire training, according to a City of Pullman Twitter post

“It’s a really good training opportunity for them,” Heston said.

Normally, he said the department sends firefighters to the Fire Training Academy in North Bend to practice live fire scenarios.

“The Washington Administrative Code requires firefighters to have live fire training every so often, and this was a house available from the city that we were able to get some live fire training out of,” said Ray Lamoureux, assistant fire chief of support services. “That was the purpose of today’s burn.”

The PFD set wooden pallets on fire within the practice house, so its firefighters went inside and put the pallets out, Lamoureux said. Once the house reached a point where it was no longer safe, the firefighters let it go. 

The team of ten firefighters rotated through different positions and worked through about twenty different scenarios throughout the afternoon, Heston said. Lamoureux oversaw the operation. 

The section of land the practice house was built on is city-owned and in the development process, which made it a good option because no other occupied structures were in its immediate vicinity, Heston said.

The house, which was built in the 1940s or 50s, held asbestos within the structure, Lamoureux said.

The department originally planned to spend three to four days running through different training scenarios, but the city removed all of the sheetrock while removing asbestos from the house, which decreased the amount of material to burn and sped up the rate of burning, Lamoureux said. 

The team also initially planned to practice on the house’s garage, but Heston said power lines running directly over the garage made that too much of a danger.

Two separate hoses ran from a fire hydrant across NW Guy Street to help keep the fire under control, he said.