Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
down/removal of old housing on Fort McCoy provided an ideal
opportunity for the Fort McCoy Fire Department firefighters to
practice their firefighting skills.
Fort McCoy Fire Department
personnel prepare to 'fight' a structural fire in a housing
structure scheduled for demolition. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
constructed from 1917-41 was scheduled for tear down after the
construction of 12 new military family housing units, said Sherry
Oslie, Directorate of Public Works Family Housing manager.
tear down was contracted to Dakota Intertek, with Robinson Brothers,
Inc., completing the demolition.
Milewski, an assistant fire chief for the Fort McCoy Directorate of
Emergency Services, said the fire department negotiated to secure one
of the facilities to support structural fire training.
had used an old commanderís house on North Post to train on
smoke-generated scenarios back in the 1990s," Milewski said.
"We had never burned an acquired structure."
ventilation training, including forced-entry techniques, was conducted
in facilities in the old hospital area of the installationís 1000
block, which eventually were demolished.
have responded to structural fires at the installation over the years,
with the last major fire reported being at building 2160 in August
2001, according to the archives of the Triad/The Real McCoy.
said the fire department has a simulation burn tower, located near the
crash rescue station on South Post to conduct fire training.
Firefighters generally conduct firefighting-related training every
quarter at Fort McCoy.
An uninhabited housing structure
burns as part of a Fire Department training exercise on
(Photo by Fort McCoy Fire
thereís really nothing like using a real-life structure to get the
realism involved in a real fire," Milewski said. "That can
include things like taking into account the soundness of the
structure, the weather and wind conditions. That canít be duplicated
or reproduced in the training center."
training center is made of noncombustible materials so it doesnít
provide firefighters with the opportunity to do risk assessments and
take proper safety precautions to ensure the fire doesnít spread, he
said the fire department carefully considered all safety possibilities
before choosing and requesting the facility to burn down as a training
exercise. Coordination had to be done with the contractor (Dakota
Intertek of New Berlin, Wis.) involved in the project and the Army
Corps of Engineers (which oversaw the construction/removal project)
and the installation.
Housing is appreciative the general contractor, Dakota Intertek, was
willing and able to coordinate and support the fire training request
for the Fort McCoy Fire Department," Oslie said.
Department personnel Curt Ladwig, Todd Swansby and Ted Richmond helped
complete the intensive process to get permission to burn down the
structure, Milewski said.
the last large-scale fire at Fort McCoy was in 2001, Milewski said the
exercise gave valuable training experience to members of the
personnel have actual experience fighting a structure fire through
their service here or as volunteer firefighters in adjoining
communities," he said. "Some personnel donít have any
experience. This gave them a chance to learn a lot and sit down and
share and exchange their experiences during an After-Action
also gave members of the fire department the experience of responding
to/handling a large incident, while other members of the fire
department remained on duty to handle any other firefighting
needs/duties that might occur during that time," he added.