During a practice burn Saturday in Imperial, fireman watch as the flames begin to roll and take on a life of their own in a portion of the house located on East 5th St. (Johnson Publications photo)
Structure burn provides valuable practice
The Imperial Volunteer Fire Department got to practice on a real structure fire Saturday.
Russ and Lori Pankonin purchased the lot to the west of their home near East Fifth and Holland Streets a few years ago.
“We bought it for the garage; the house just came with it,” Pankonin said.
The Pankonins guessed the house to be over 100 years old.
It couldn’t be renovated, so the Pankonins offered it to the IVFD for training purposes.
Saturday was the second time the house was used for practice for IVFD.
The first time, it was filled with smoke from a smoke machine to simulate being in a burning building.
That training came in handy, because it was only a few weeks after that the IVFD was called out to a structure fire at Scott and Linda Payne’s home.
On Saturday, the house was set on fire via hay bales and pallets, according to IVFD training officer Kelsey Weiss.
“First we did a safety briefing,” Weiss said, “then we set it on fire.”
While the building was burning, a water curtain was kept going between the burning house and the neighboring house to keep that house from setting on fire.
In addition to IVFD members, there was one firefighter from Wauneta and two from Grant who participated in the training.
The Imperial EMS was also on site.
“It was good training for them, too,” Weiss said. “We do work as a team, even though we’re separate.”