HOT Academy finishes week-long training with live controlled burn

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MURTAUGH, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Hands on Training Academy finished a week-long training with a live controlled burn Wednesday.

The crew consisted of firefighters from Twin Falls Fire Department, Rock Creek Rural Fire District and Buhl City Fire.

In the past few days, the crew in the academy prepped a home in Murtaugh on a farm to be burned. Interim Fire Chief Stacey Thomas, with Rock Creek, said the farmland owners wanted the home to be burned down so they can expand. So crews gutted it as part of their training.

"We went through and gutted the house. Once the house is gutted, you put up plyboard and other materials class A, which are your ordinary combustibles, wood, paper and you go in and create a fire," said Kody Lewin, a firefighter with Rock Creek and probationary firefighter with Twin Falls Fire.

Capt. Tom Bloxham, from Twin Falls Fire, did a controlled burn with his crew in Twin Falls just a few months ago.

"On the last one, we didn't do multiple burns. We did two burns in two different rooms, so this one, this set up you can do multiple burns in each room. It's a safer set up for multiple burns," Bloxham said.

Bloxham said he was a little bit out of his element with a different crew.

"Because, I can't say 'this is my guy and we're going to go in,' but this is a good practice because it might be a scenario we have on a real fire," Bloxham continued. "We might call them for mutual aid and these guys show up, which is good for me, because now I know their names, a little bit more about them."

Lt. Paul Madalena, with Buhl Fire, told KMVT it was good to learn how other departments work.

"Get some ideas from them. I could potentially bring back to my own department," Madalena said.

All three firefighters said there is a set standard across the industry, so the firefighters are on the same page on how to tackle the fire.

"We've always got to work together and get along. We've got to trust each other. Every time we go into a burning structure, we are risking our own lives," Madalena said.

Once finished with the burn Wednesday, Lewin said a few of the firefighters who led the burns will be state certified to teach National Fire Protection Association 1403 live fire.

"We'll be able to teach to train the trainers. So whoever we teach can therefore go teach other guys and so they can go and teach the class," Lewin said.

Lewin said he enjoyed himself around the crew in the past few days, training for the live burn.

"Just a bunch of great guys all around, and actually learning the techniques of Buhl, because I've never worked with Buhl before," he said.

Madalena said he's enjoyed the training as well.

"It's been fun to work with Rock Creek and Twin Falls Fire. I don't get to work with them much because we're on the other end of the county," he said.

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