By Josiah Clark
During Emergency Fest on Saturday, the Boone Fire Department burned down one of the town-owned buildings on the Rivers-Coffey property. In addition to the burning being a training effort, the fire department also used this event to educate the public on the dangers of fire.
Owned by the Town of Boone, the abandoned home was located at 122 Moretz Drive.
The house was filled with old furniture and cardboard boxes filled with shredded paper. The fire department used the controlled blaze to demonstrate just how fast even a small fire can quickly escalate.
The fire was lit at 11 a.m.
Boone Fire Department Chief Jimmy Isaacs said his staff let the fire progress naturally on its own, and after the smoke detectors went off, a member of the audience was asked to dial 911.
According to Isaacs, they waited exactly four minutes before they began combating the fire.
“After the 911 call is made and processed, our goal is to move quickly and have a four minute response time for home fires,” said Chief Isaacs.
Representatives from the fire department hoped that this demonstration would also teach families the importance of having a plan in the event of a fire.
Every year, more people die from smoke inhalation than from the actual flames. Isaacs stressed smoke alarm safety, asking the crowd to test their smoke detectors at least once a month and replace the batteries every year.
Boone Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Teague was thrilled that so many people showed up for the live burning, in what he said was a “nearly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
When asked about the possibility of another controlled house burning at next year’s Emergency Fest, Teague is hopeful that another one will be organized, but he said it all depends on a number of factors.
“That’s going to be dependent on if there is a house that is donated to us that’s close to the site. If there is, then we will obviously try our best to coordinate another live burn,” he said.
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