Using a shipping container, a staircase and some straw, firefighters of the Mora Area Fire Department were able to simulate a basement fire and train for the unique challenges it presents.
Mora firefighter Nick Bakke said fighting a fire coming down stairs into a basement is difficult because it positions the firefighters above the fire-—directly in the path of rising heat, steam and toxic smoke.
Fire Chief Brett Anderson said the technique to put out a fire in a basement, involves using short bursts of water to prevent creating a large cloud of steam. Firefighters also try to stay back away from the fire and may use the ceiling as a tool to bounce water off of.
Stairs add an additional challenge. Walking down staircases in heavy gear increases the risk of falling.
Anderson said when deciding whether or not to attempt to extinguish a basement fire, responders must asses the benefits of doing so versus the safety risk to the firefighters.
The training and props to simulate a basement fire were provided by Central Lakes College Fire & EMS Programs on June 8 at the Mora fire hall.