Old house used as training tool for Demopolis fire department

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

What did Smokey the Bear always tell us about fire? Only this time the Demopolis Fire Department meant to burn – not prevent – a fire Wednesday at a Demopolis’ residence on 1918 D Street.

The festivities started at around 8:30 a.m. and ended in a blaze of glory around 1:30 p.m. There were a total of 13 Demopolis firefighters present, three Captains and 10 Firefighters. The department did many drills, most of them consisting of two-man drills. With the house full of flames and smoke, they worked on the two-man Search and Rescue, where they go into the building in a pair and search.

For the two-man Search and Rescue for a baby, instead of a real baby, they used a dummy made out of old fire hose. They also worked on two-man Search and Rescue for an adult, in which they used a dummy weighing 140 lbs.

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For the two-man Search and Rescue for a fallen firefighter; they had to drag one of their own from the blaze. Then they finished with two-man fire suppression (attack), as they went into the building with the fire hose and put out the fires started by the Captains.

Finally, they worked on salvage and overhaul, after the blaze was let go. It took the house less than 30 minutes to fully burn to the foundation.

The Demopolis Fire Department usually gets two to three requests a month from a homeowner asking them to come burn down their home. "We try to do at least two to three house burnings a year because we don’t get the amount of calls like we use to. It is great practice for the younger members of the fire department."

The Demopolis Fire Department has a variety of the latest gear for fire fighting. They have a new 2003 fire truck called Engine 1, valued at $326,000, and they also have a 1996 ladder truck, valued at $462,000.

They are currently working on a grant to get some new air packs and some other pieces of equipment. "If we receive a call that a house is on fire, you can believe that the fire department here is ready to serve the people of Demopolis with the latest equipment and fire trucks," Tate said.