Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 9, 2019
Area firefighters hone skills with hand’s-on training
Area firefighters participated in a training burn in Stonington on May 5. In the foreground, Sedgwick Fire Fighter Ray Gale, flanked by Deer Isle members Chris Hutchinson and Jim Foley, help the younger recruits with hose training.
by Faith DeAmbrose
Firefighters from Deer Isle, Stonington, Blue Hill, Brooklin and Sedgwick participated in real-world training on the Airport Road Sunday, May 5. Department members were able to advance their skills in a non-emergency setting while also clearing a dilapidated building from the street scape. The structure, owned by Ron and Debby Alley, will be rebuilt as a shop for Ron.
As training began, a holding tank was set up to receive water from pump trucks, and hoses were run across the property setting up two areas for water to be sprayed.
Teams took turns entering the building as smaller fires were ignited and extinguished, each displaying its own distinct “behavior,” explained Sedgwick Fire Chief David Carter who noted the appearance of a “fire tornado” among the many ways the flames organized.
Led by Stonington Fire Chief Ryan Hayward, the training built on already developed skills for all the firefighters except one, Meredith Townsend of Blue Hill who is in the process of completing her first round of firefighter training. Townsend entered the burning building numerous times alongside Chief Carter putting her classroom study to the test.
As the flames ate away at the roof and then the walls, pike poles and streams of water were used to guide the falling debris inward into the foundation.
Onlookers, including the Alleys, gathered to watch the training unfold, while artist Alison Dibble sat on a hillside across the road painting various stages of the training burn onto cards with watercolor paints.