CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Firefighters from across the area converged at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center on Tuesday evening for a controlled burn exercise.
But unlike most training exercises, this one involved a fire fueled by natural gas. Fire instructor Don Waldron talked with firefighters on what they should expect before the fire was lit.
“You are going to be walking side by side. It’s almost going to be where you are saying step, step,” Waldron said.
“You can read about it in a book, but you are never going to know exactly what it feels like until you do it,” Coitsville and Campbell firefighter Robert Eggleston said.
The fire was fueled by hundreds of pounds of natural gas. In small groups, firefighters had to turn off a valve while fighting pushing the flames back to put out the fire.
“You’re going to push that fire away from you, but at the same time, it’s going to come right in that cone,” Waldron said. “You never turn your back on this fire and you back out the same way you came in.”
Waldron said it is useful training for firefighters with shale drilling and gas wells in the Valley. Eggleston spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the Campbell and Coitsville fire departments.
“It’s kind of the same feeling because I am still helping people no matter what,” Eggleston said.
He said no matter the task at hand, the training he and other firefighters receive will not only help them, but also people across the area.
Firefighters were expected to burn between 800 and 1,000 pounds of natural gas.