Fire personnel from throughout the area converged on a burning house just off Sevierville Road Friday afternoon, but joint operation was merely a training exercise.
Fire department personnel used the house that stood on the former DeLozier family farm as a training tool. They practiced a number of simulated emergencies. Maryville, Alcoa and Blount County fire departments were represented, as were Seymour and Friendsville Volunteer Fire Departments.
“We got to train with that thing all week, and we did burn it down that Friday. It took about an hour and half to get it on the ground,” said Maryville Deputy Fire Chief David Hodges. “We probably had 35 to 40 firefighters there on Friday.”
Hodges said the exercise was important to all of the departments because the personnel got the opportunity to crosstrain with other departments’ personnel. “We all got to train together, and we ran different scenarios. Being a multi-floor structure, we got to act like we had people trapped upstairs and go in and do a search,” he said.
Hodges said they also simulated firefighters being trapped where other personnel entered in and rescued them.
“Guys even did practice bailouts -- moving out of a window on a rope or on ladders, coming out head first and feet first. It was just a great training tool.”
Hodges said the good thing about the old structure was that all the asbestos had been removed. “These opportunities don’t come around very often. Whenever they do, we try capitalize on them,” he said.