A fire in the heart of downtown Pocatello engulfed an entire home in flames Wednesday, and the blaze was set intentionally by the Fire Department.
The Fire Department turned a condemned house into a smoldering pile of rubble just to keep their skills sharp.
Battalion Chief Thomas Sanford needs every member of his team at the top of their game so that they’re ready for times like Tuesday’s salvage yard fire when every hand is needed and resources are stretched to the breaking point.
“Yesterday was a good case of how we had more fire than we had resources, and we had to call people in,? Sanford said.
So the department used the home on Fifth Avenue to train.
Crews set several fires and put them out, before letting the whole building go up in flames.
Part of the purpose of the training was to make sure several new members of the fire crew know what they’re doing.
Rusty Lich has been a Pocatello fireman for just 2 1/2 weeks.
For someone new to the crew, even taking on the training blaze was a trial by fire.
“I couldn’t see anything, trying to maneuver around not knowing the layout of the house, and then going in and trying to find the seed of the fire. So it was kind of a unique experience,? Lich said.
Lich said here’s no other way to really train how you need to. You have to use fire to learn to fight fire.
“It’s probably one of the most important things that we do just because you can’t simulate live fire without live fire,? Lich said.
With billowing black smoke going everywhere and roads blocked off, the battalion chief hoped local people would be patient with the inconvenience, but rather than being annoyed crowds set up lawn chairs to watch the house burn down.
The Fire Department said the businesses surrounding the house all gave their permissions for the live burn.