Pittsburg Firefighter Training

Pittsburg Firefighter Training

The Pittsburg Fire Department is using abandoned houses for firefighter training.
PITTSBURG, KS.--- Eric Vanbecelaere has been fighting fires for more than fourteen years. He says keeping up with fire training is an important part of being a first responder.

"Every time you do training, it's a success because you're always going to learn from something that you messed up on, and it just builds from there," said Eric Vanbecelaere, Pittsburg firefighter.

Eric and his fellow firefighters with the Pittsburg Fire Department are currently using five abandoned homes for fire training. 

"If we can train like this, where we're looking at live structures, basically it improves our training ability. Basically, because we don't know what's going on in the home," said Chief Mike Simons, Pittsburg Fire Department.

Firefighters began at the station and made their way to the house, and began taking out the hoses, breaking down the doors to find where the fire started and to see if any victims are still inside. 

"Our ability to successfully go in and do search and rescue and do extinguishment, and to save property. So it has a direct relationship, and correlation to the safety of our citizens," said Chief Simons. 

By practicing inside the houses, firefighters are able to practice like their having to battle a real fire. A smoke generator is used, and although it stages the real thing, there are still some differences that the firefighters are unable to create for the training. 

"We didn't have the heat element today. Which is what we would definitely run into in a structure fire. You know, temperatures can get upwards to over a thousand, twelve hundred degrees at the ceiling," said Vanbecelaere. 

Although the training was intense, the firefighters said the training was successful. Pittsburg firefighters believes community safety comes first, and by staying up to date on house fire training, it ensures they know how to respond to a call quickly and efficiently. 

"We try to get in there, of course, as fast as we can, and take care of the life safety," said Vanbecelaere.

The Pittsburg Fire Department has responded to more than 20 house fires this year.

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