Pilot story and photos by Lynn Davis
Things heated up for the Brookings Fire Department last Saturday morning as firemen carefully performed a rare "live fire" training exercise on a partially demolished house located at 710 6th Street.
The prearranged drill was part of the "Burn to Learn" program that provides invaluable opportunities for the crew to learn more about fire behavior and, at the same time, serves as an inexpensive way for a property owners to dispose of an unwanted structures.
"The overall cost of removing a structure will be considerably less than if they were to hire a contractor to have to tear it all down and dispose of it by another means," said Brookings Fire Department Chief Bill Sharp. "We are saving the property owner a lot of money."
The program, he said, has been around for at least twenty-two years, the amount of time he has been with the department. Those wishing to have their structure burned are requested to pay a small donation, do some basic preparation work, and then sign over the building to the department.
The house used for last Saturday's exercise was donated about a month and a half ago by California resident,Ross Warthon.
Sharp said he waited for conditions to be just right before giving the "go-ahead."
"This is the time of year we like to do them," he explained.
The amount of moisture in the air, the dampness of surrounding vegetation and structures, and the lack of wind at 8 a.m. combine to form a good environment for controlling a burn, he said.