Figuring out fires and raising awareness

Live Fire Training

The Hannibal Fire Department performed a live fire exercise called Fire Cause Determination and Arson Awareness Wednesday.

The exercise was sponsored by the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

There were about 10 firefighters with a mix of both students and certified investigators coming from the Hannibal Fire Department, New London Fire Department, Hannibal Rural Fire Protection District and Missouri State Fire Marshals Office.

"In the training environment, it gives us the chance to practice and hone our skills. We gain more proficiency by going through the exercises and conducting more investigations, so with that practice, it makes us better investigators in the long run," Fire Chief Bill Madore with the City of Hannibal said.

Once the fire is put out, the students interviewed the firefighters who were first at the scene.

They then go in to try and determine where the fire started, what the smoke conditions are, and investigate the different aspects that they encounter on the fire ground.

One of the certified students who participated in the training, Mark Kempker, told KHQA that it is a prerequisite for students who are interested in becoming an investigative firefighter, but for those who already are already certified, it's a great way to get out there and do more hands on training to fine tune your skills.

"We can actually get in here, we actually have had a real fire inside these trailers, and every investigator gets an opportunity to work with fellow investigators so there could be something that you get a trick to the trade so to speak that you can pick up from another investigator that may or may not of been here longer," Kempker said.

The trailer that was used for this exercise costs a total of $350,000.

But thanks to the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute, both the trailer and other costs of the course were provided by them through grant funding and donations.

"If you have a devastating fire, Kempker said. First and foremost you want to know what caused it. There's many different reasons that cause a fire, so if you get the opportunity to learn how you can help your fellow citizens, it's just a great thing."

(Story by KHQA Multimedia Journalist Lauren Kalil.)