Firefighters get specialized training

FALL CREEK, Wis. (WEAU)- Flames shooting more than 20 feet in the air. It’s not your normal day on the job for firefighters from Fall Creek, Augusta and Altoona.

Crews from around the area honed their skills Monday night learning how to extinguish a household hazard.

National numbers show 1,000 accidental fires are caused each year by propane gas.

That's why more than 30 firefighters from the area got specialized training learning how to deal with this kind of hazard.

“With a normal house fire you are pretty aggressive. With propane fires you stand back and wait before you put it out,” Fall Creek Fire Chief Robert Dewitz said.

Cheif Dewitz says scenarios and training on fighting fires is all part of the job, but fighting propane fires require a different set of skills.

“You don't want to put the fire out because what's going to happen is it will leak and propane is heavier than air so it sinks and finds an ignition source,” Fire Instructor Luke VanNoie said.

VanNoie from Fire LLC. says skills gained from trainings like Monday nights can be especially crucial for fire crews in rural parts of the state.

“A propane emergency can happen easily where a farm tractor is hit or a propane truck crashes or a propane tank on a grill is hit by a car. There are plenty of scenarios,” he explained.

So just how hot does it get battling these types of flames? VanNoie says temperatures inside the flame can get as hot as 2,220 degrees.

All that heat means if you have a fire like this at your home, call 9-1-1 immediately.

“That's not something you want to handle on your own. If you have a fire like that call 9-1-1 to get emergency crews on the way,” VanNoie explained.

Live fire training like the one held Monday night is paid for by The Wisconsin Propane Education and Research Council.Funds for the propane fire training come from a national check-off program which Wisconsin propane retailers participate in.

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