URBANDALE, Iowa – It’s a real burning house, with four real local fire departments pitching it to take out the blaze. But today’s emergency was just a routine training exercise.
“The developers contacted us and said they’ve got a house they wanted to take down, and wondered if we wanted a chance to train in it,” said Assistant Chief Mike Cardwell with the Urbandale Fire Department. “So it’s a great chance to get fire training under realistic conditions.”
A home near Cutty’s Campground in Urbandale got torched in the name of training by the Urbandale, Clive, Johnston and Grimes fire departments. Firefighters warned there could be heavy smoke in the area, but it shouldn’t cause any health concerns. The training began at 8:00 Friday morning, but the house isn’t expected to be burned down in full until about 5 in the evening.
“The big reason this provides a great opportunity for us is it’s realistic conditions,” he said. “We do a lot of training in our fire buildings, but this is real, this is a lot more to what the conditions of what they’re going to face when they arrive at a fire. And it gives them a lot better understanding of tempo, and moving quickly.”
Asst. Chief Cardwell says this is the first time in a few years the departments have had the opportunity to train on a real house-fire.