On Wednesday night, more than a dozen Cutchogue volunteer firefighters piled into a smoke-filled house to practice fighting fires and rescuing trapped victims. Normally, the Cutchogue Fire Department trains at the Yaphank Fire Academy.
But Wednesday night was different: for the first time in decades, volunteer firefighters used an actual house donated by a fellow firefighter for training. The house is scheduled to be demolished, so the firefighter offered it to the department to practice inside.
“I’m just helping out my fellow brothers,” the firefighter said at the training.
Though firefighters weren’t allowed to tear down doors or break through areas of the residence, the in-house training was a chance for firefighters to encounter an unfamiliar environment, said Fire Chief Antone Berkoski.
More senior firefighters often get used to the layout of the training rooms at the Yaphank Fire Academy, the fire chiefs said.
“This is a unique opportunity to work in something real life, real world,” said assistant chief Bill Brewer.
The chiefs hid dummies to represent victims inside the house and had firefighters respond to the scene from the fire house just before 7 p.m. as if it were a real fire. Firefighters had to put on smoke masks and carry fire hoses into the house to practice what to do in a real fire.
The department’s junior firefighters were also on hand to watch the training and learn about how firefighters prepare for the real emergencies.
Click through to see more photos from Wednesday night’s Cutchogue Fire Department drill: