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Firefighters sharpen skills at live fire training

Oregon Fire Chief Michael Knoup walks in front of the burning home as he monitors a practice burn on S. Daysville Road on Saturday. Photo by Earleen Hinton
Oregon Fire Chief Michael Knoup walks in front of the burning home as he monitors a practice burn on S. Daysville Road on Saturday. Photo by Earleen Hinton

Area firefighters got experience at a live fire training Saturday, thanks to the generosity of a local manufacturer.

Approximately 20 firefighters from the Oregon, Byron, and Stillman Valley Fire Departments took part in a practice burn of a one-story house on South Daysville Road, and in a few weeks will get more training when they burn the larger house next door.

Oregon Fire Chief Mike Knoup said E.D. Etnyre Co., which owns both houses, offered them to the fire department for practice and training.

He gladly accepted the offer.

“It’s an excellent training for new members who haven’t had an opportunity to go to an actual house fire,” he said.

First, fires were set in different rooms of the house, Knoup said, to offer eight scenarios that could happen in an actual fire.

“We had just the right number of firefighters participating,” he said. “Everyone got to try a couple of scenarios at different positions. We got a lot of good experience for those members.”

At the end, they studied fire behavior — how fire moves from one spot to another — when they burned the entire structure.

The training session lasted about four hours, Knoup said.

Firefighters will do inside training on the second house over the next two months and burn it completely at the end of that time, he said.

The inside training will include filling the house with simulated smoke for search and rescue drills.

Toward the end they will also practice roof ventilation techniques. 

Firefighters aren’t the only ones training in the house.

Knoup said the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department have already done SWAT training there, and the Illinois State Police will hone their skills there in the coming weeks.

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