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Madras ‘burn to learn’ drill teaches key firefighting lessons


It’s not every day that more than two-dozen volunteer firefighters get to pose smiling in front of a burning building. An odd sight, at first glance, until you learn Saturday’s event in Madras was a “burn to learn” training exercise on a donated building.

Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 made good use of the structure donated by nearby Free Methodist Church on South Adams Drive for the seven-hour training drill.

“Our crews got to experience fire behavior and rotate through different groups to get hands-on training for all aspects of a fire scene,” Captain Kasey Skaar said in a news release.

Flames in the “burn rooms” are created with clean wood pallets, topped with a few flakes of hay, he said. More than two-dozen volunteers got to see how a fire builds before putting it out.

“These training (sessions) give our firefighters a great experience, to know what it’s like to be in fire during an emergency and how to fight it,” Skaar said.

The fire district thanked Jefferson County EMS for standing by at the fire scene and helping with rehab, as well as the church for the opportunity to use their building, the city of Madras helping with road closures “and our volunteers spending the day training to better themselves for our community,” Skaar said.

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