Saving Lives in Burning Home: 'Intense' Drill for Firefighters
A soon-to-be-demolished home provides a great training ground for the Ocean City Fire Department.
Ocean City firefighters put themselves in an array of deadly situations on Friday in an exercise designed to train firefighters in search and rescue.
Designed by other firefighters who saw three of their colleagues die in the collapse of a burning multi-story house in Gloucester City on July 4, 2002, the Safety and Survival Training program simulates firefighting scenarios that included fatalities.
The Ocean City Fire Department hired the company to train members of all shifts on Friday. Some Margate firefighters participated as well.
Dennis Magrann, a retired Philadelphia firefighter, and another duplex owner gave the department full access to a home on the 2400 block of Haven Avenue that will be demolished next week and rebuilt at a higher elevation, according to Fire Chief Chris Breunig.
That gave the department a unique training ground to simulate different scenarios: smashing through walls to find victims buried in a collapse; proceeding "blindly" through darkened and cluttered corridors; and lifting an "unconscious" firefighter from an extremely tight space (the scenario for a Denver fatality in 1992). The drills included simulated smoke that limited visibility.
Breunig said many of his firefighters said it was "the most intense training they've ever been through."