The Ottumwa Courier

December 2, 2013

Firefighters take part in training


KNOXVILLE — Approximately 25 members of the City of Knoxville Fire/Rescue Department and Knoxville Township Fire Department took part in a training exercise over the weekend. 

A dilapidated house at 805 South Third was burned for the training exercise. The homeowner began working with former Chief Nick Bonstell on the training fire before Bonstell vacated the position. Current Knoxville Fire Chief Jim Mitchell completed the pre-fire preparations, including the approval from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

Mitchell said the training was focused on external practices, including pump training and hand lines. The goal was basically to demonstrate how firefighters get water to a flame. The building was unsafe for anyone to enter for interior training, according to Mitchell. The firefighters protected nearby trees and structures. 

"It was pretty successful," Mitchell said of the training fire. "It was a good joint training." 

There were 17 members of the City department who participated and six from the rural fire department. When the training was complete, the remainder of the house was knocked down. 

Firefighters are required by the State to take part in 24 hours of training every two years, though there is no strong enforcement of that code when compared to EMS training. Mitchell would like to see more oversight of these requirements performed by the State. 

Knoxville does not have any more training fires planned.