By Starrla Cray
DASSEL, MN The flames were real, but unlike most house fires, the Oct. 24 blaze was planned.
The Dassel Fire Department’s training burn took place in an old farmhouse on the property of Jason and Karina Hillmyer about 2 miles south of Dassel.
“The house was taken down to provide space to add on to the other house on the property,” Dassel Fire Chief Dave Johnson noted. “The training started at 6:30 p.m. and we did interior fire training until around 10 p.m. We had some firemen who stayed to keep an eye on it while it burned the rest of the way, and they were there until after 3 a.m.”
The Cokato Fire Department was also involved in the training, which was organized by Customized Fire Rescue Training Inc. of Maple Lake.
“They did a great job getting all personnel who wanted interior training inside,” Johnson noted. “Some went in more than once, and the firefighters were able to get training on interior fire attack at different levels of intensity.”
According to Johnson, the most critical aspect of training is safety. The experience also allowed firefighters to practice other skills, such as pump operations, radio communications, and incident command.
In 2015, the Dassel Fire Department responded to a total of 228 calls in a 125-square -mile radius including 23 fires.
Other calls for service included medical/rescue calls (164), motor vehicle/injuries (17), hazardous conditions (seven), weather (three), motor vehicle/non-injury (three), smoke/odor removal (two), chemical release (one), and extrication from machinery (one). There were also 14 cancelled calls, and eight false alarms.