About 15 new county fire department volunteers got experience in fighting a house fire during a training burn Sunday.
Forty firefighters from Tiffin Fire Rescue Division and Bascom, Bloomville, Clinton Township, McCutchenville, Republic and Sycamore fire departments participated in the burn at 396 Miami St., a two-story house owned by Tiffin University. The area is to be used for parking, according to TU.
Heidelberg University and Tiffin City Schools also have offered property to assist firefighters with training.
"It's a win-win because it saves them demolition costs, but it saves us a ton of money in training," said Chief Bill Ennis of Tiffin Fire Rescue Division.
If firefighters did not have a house to use for training, they would have to go to a burn building, which is expensive to use for one day, Ennis said.
"You don't get the same feel. ... They get a more realistic training (with houses)," he said.
Ennis said houses are dangerous to use for training because firefighters don't know what is in them. He said he took a hard look at the Miami Street house.
"I wouldn't let them be here (if it wasn't safe)," he said.
Ennis said he arranges as many training burns as he can. Some years, the department has four or five, while some years, it hasn't had any, he said.
The chief said Sunday's training focused on engine company operations, and personnel were simulating the first truck to arrive at a house fire.
"Right now, it's bedrooms essentially," he said about 10:40 a.m.
During the training, firefighters could learn how to use a nozzle and see how a fire builds. Firefighters constantly reignite the fire during the training.
"The house is good for about one day (of training)," the chief said.
Ennis said the departments work well together in the county. The training gives personnel a chance to meet others, and the newer firefighters served as company officers during the training.
Ennis said for new firefighters, a lot of work is about building confidence. It is a foreign atmosphere when people go into a fire. Firefighters can't see anything and can't speak well in a mask, he said.
"A lot of it is by feel," he said.