Earlier Friday, a home on Mill Road was up in flames and seemed to be in a world of trouble. Thankfully, it was just a training exercise for the Cherry Valley Fire Department.
“We don’t get opportunities to train like this in real homes very often,” said Lt. Kris Gay of the Cherry Valley Fire Department. “A family donated a house to us, to the Cherry Valley Fire Department, to use as a training house, and as you can see behind us, what we did today was we practiced some live burn evolutions,” said Lt. Rich Trapp of Cherry Valley Fire.
The home on Mill Road was previously abandoned and has been a practice facility for the department for the past two months which ended today after being completely burned down.
“This gave us the opportunity that nobody actually knew what the floor plan was, so it would be almost like going into a real structure fire even though we were just using smoke up until today,” said Lt. Trapp.
The weekly trainings brought out the neighbors on Mill Road, especially Brain Winters who lives next door to the home.
“We’ve watched them every time they have had practice here, every Thursday night they have their practice nights, and we have stood here right by the fence and watched them,” said Cherry Valley resident Brain Winters.
Winters’ observations have given him added confidence in his fire department. “Oh they’re ready to rock and roll no matter what.” Winters added.
“The training, it goes on forever, I’ve got 24 years on, I still attend class as much as I can. You have to keep up with the new skills and you keep advancing yourself from that basic firefighter all the way up to chief, commander, type level of operations,” said Lt. Trapp.
“Here today we probably have 20 to 25 year guys as low as a year or two on the department. So it’s really good training. Like I said, we don’t get to train in homes like this often so it’s a really good opportunity,” said Lt. Kris Gay.
The department is having its next recruiting class on March 6th. If you are interested in joining, contact the Cherry Valley Fire Department by calling 815-332-5382.