Burning house teaches firefighters a lesson

Liberty house burned to the ground for training exercise.

Firemen in Adams and Pike County are working to make sure a fire doesn't destroy your home.

Liberty Fire District along with the University of Illinois Fire service Institute teamed up for a live house burn on Saturday.

"We acquire a vacant house the landowner no longer wants, we set it on fire two or three times, until the point the house gets weak. We'll put it out and the last time we let it burn to the ground, said Don Loos, Chief for the Liberty Fire Protection District.

Firemen from Adams and Pike County's participated in the training.

Groups of four took turns filling the house with pallets and straw, and then igniting it.

Once the structure is weakened ... "We'll burn it clean to the ground, it'll be in the basement by nightfall," Loos said.

These types of burns are usually held once every other year in the Liberty district.

Don Loos is the Liberty Fire Chief. He said this type of experience is especially important in his district.

"We don't get too many structure fires, thankfully, in our district," Loos said.

"This training like this is invaluable to rural fire departments because a lot of them don't have the ability to put their firefighters through an academy or any type of formal training," Larry Bradshaw, the lead instructor for the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute said. "It gives them access to get live fire training under their belt to find out whether or not they have the ability to get out there and do it."

Bradshaw said while these live burns are controlled ... they can sometimes get out of hand.

"Although we're there and it's a training ground, if the fire gets into some hidden chases, some areas and ceiling and stuff and sometimes it can get away from us. But we usually get everyone out of the building and stuff in time that it's just a lost training ground," Bradshaw said.

But Bradshaw said Saturday's conditions were ideal for the training exercise.