(WEAU) - When a fire breaks out, every minute can mean the difference between life and death.
That's why the Chippewa Fire District is helping new firefighters gain hands on experience by having a controlled house fire.
"Firefighter training is a lifelong process. Experience is very important to our type of profession," said Fire Chief Kent Hulett of the Chippewa Fire District.
But firefighters don't always get that experience.
"Every fire is unique as far as what's burning, where it’s at, newer construction versus older construction. The newer homes have a lot more plastic that burns very hot."
Hulett says in the past year the district has hired 35 new firefighters.
"Next to the real thing, this is the best hands on training we can get, state of Wisconsin requires firefighters to go through 60 hours of basic training," said Hulett.
After completing those 60 hours, firefighters must experience live burn conditions before going inside a real fire.
Firefighter Chad Mousel says he's been with the district two and a half years but learning from controlled fires is important.
"It’s really helpful because you don't know what you’re going to show up on on scene. So doing this kind of stuff gives you the experience of what you might run in on on scene and what you should expect," said Chad Mousel, firefighter.
Meanwhile the house fire wasn't the only excitement going on.
The Fire Chief celebrated 40 years of duty and is retiring after a year and half as chief with the district.
Firefighters say they’re glad they get to spend the chief's last day by doing a situational fire such as a house burn.
"I'm glad he's the kind of chief that likes to play which is good, you know, not a lot of chiefs you know like to play with fire," said Mousel.
"It's a great way to end my career and training the guys I enjoyed working with the past year and a half," said Hulett.