As flames engulfed the two-story farm house at 7606 Davidson Road, the growing fire created a wall of intense heat that pushed onlookers back in an ever expanding half-circle. According to a spokesperson with the Chattanooga Fire Department, the temperature eventually reached a searing 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit, forcing anyone without protective gear to retreat to the empty plot across the street.
The recruits of Chattanooga’s Fire Academy 2015 stayed close. Outfitted in protective gear, they let the fire have its way, and instead doused nearby trees with untold gallons of water to keep the conflagration from spreading. It was the final exercise in a week of extreme exercises that saw them putting out individual room fires and learning about fire suppression, search and rescue techniques, and ventilation.
The house burn on Friday, July 31 marked the end of fire training for the 21 recruits. If they make it through the training on vehicle extrication and hazardous materials, they will graduate on Sept. 3.
The 119-year-old house was beyond repair, so the owner donated the structure for the live fire training exercises. In return, the house was burned to the ground, reducing demolition expenses.
As this picture of the planned inferno shows, a house fire can be a devastating event – one for which the Chattanooga Fire Department strives to be well prepared through intense, and ongoing, training.