The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.
Firefighters put their skills to the test Wednesday evening, entering a blazing Boam Street house as part of a training exercise. Fire Chief Jim Petrie set the porch of the abandoned, City-owned house ablaze before instructing crews to enter the building and search for dummy victims. "Sometimes I put dummies in the building, sometimes I don't," said the fire chief, who has held exercises like this before. "The firefighters have to go through the building and tell me if there's anyone in there." But it was more than a search and rescue exercise. "The firefighters were also able to familiarize themselves with the fire's environment," said Petrie. "That way they're better equipped to handle the real thing." While veteran firefighters have experience in burning buildings, some newer members do not. Live fire exercises give the rookies that valuable experience. "I have rookies who I send in with experienced firefighters, and this is the best environment for them to learn in," said Petrie. Such exercises involve not only firefighters who enter the building, but their support crews as well. "There are many jobs to be done on a fire scene which require a great deal of knowledge," said the fire chief. "With practice, these jobs become second nature and firefighters learn what has to be done at every incident." Safety was paramount during Wednesday's exercise, as Petrie took every precaution to ensure the safety of the firefighters and the neighbouring buildings. The abandoned house on Boam Street has now been used for five separate live fire exercises and will be demolished.