The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 15, 2013

Flaming house trains firefighters for real-life situations

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa firefighters purposely set a house on fire.

The controlled blaze was one of two house fires the department is allowed to perform per year, a training opportunity for eight Ottumwa firefighters and two Wapello County Rural firefighters.

Bill Trout, assistant fire chief, oversaw the training exercise Thursday morning at a 628-square-foot house — what Fire Chief Tony Miller called "dainty" — that sits at the corner of Harding Street and Hammond Avenue.

"We do one every chance we get," Trout said. "We love doing this because we can do training that's more realistic with a live fire."

They placed piles of dampened hay throughout the home, which they then lit on fire. Within the hour, smoke was billowing out of every window and door and flames began to shoot out of the basement.

"This one, a friend of mine asked if it would be possible for us to burn it," he said. "He had just bought the property and was going to tear it down anyway."

Controlled house fires give firefighters a chance to battle a blaze in a relatively safe situation. Two newer OFD firefighters, who have worked for the department less than a year, were able to practice operating every angle of the fire before they're called to a real house fire.

"This is so when the real thing comes in, they know what to do without being told what to do," Trout said. "It's not as dangerous as a real house fire because we know the layout and where the fire is, whereas when we show up to a real fire, we're going into the darkness, into the unknown."

Ottumwa's record number of structure fires this year had nothing to do with the training exercise, he said. The firefighters want to do as many of these controlled house fires as they can. Firefighters have battled 31 structure fires so far this year, inching closer and closer to the total of 34 structure fires the city saw in all of 2012.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction B&W photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0424 OTT Lottery addiction graphic -T -L -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 3

    OTTUMWA — At first, George bought a lottery ticket once or twice a week. Nothing big. Spent $1 or $2 at a time. As the big jackpots rolled around, he’d purchase a few more tickets. No big deal, he thought. Soon, playing the lottery became his obsessi

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Interpreter bill approved in kidnapping case OTTUMWA — A filing in an Ottumwa case illustrates one of the basic tenets of the American legal system and its costs. Adem Anota is charged with one count of kidnapping. The charge is a Class A felony, among the most serious and one of only a few cri

    April 23, 2014

  • Van Buren OKs teacher pay hike KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren Community School Board ratified a master contract with its certified staff members recently. Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell, the Van Buren Education Association and the district reached a settlement which calls for increasing

    April 23, 2014

  • 'Ride With the Clowns' bike event full of fun OTTUMWA — This bike ride is a joke. No, seriously. The 10th annual "Ride With the Clowns" spring tune-up is set for Saturday, May 3, and this fun ride is sponsored by the Ottumwa Shrine Club Clown Unit. "It draws a regular crowd," said Mark Merringer

    April 23, 2014

  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition