Weekly Feature

2017-05-18 / Front Page

Live burn to serve as indispensable training

by AMY ROBB Editor

The Depew Village Board passed a resolution approving a live burn starting at 8 a.m. Sunday, May 21, at 3941 Broadway in Depew.

The burn will serve as a training exercise for the Depew Fire Department, with the permission of property owner Taruna Varma and M&T Hospitality, LLC.

“This actually came up in the perfect area because there’s really nothing around it,” said Depew Fire Chief Scott Wegst.

“It doesn’t happen in Depew very often. The houses are in close proximity, there are many regulations we have to follow, so the last time we did a live burn was about six years ago. It was an old house on Transit Road.”

It’s a win-win for the property owner as well as Depew Fire, with time and energy saved on demolishing the building that would have been torn down anyway.

For department members, the live burn is the best training they can get for the real thing. Depew Fire has monthly training for various situations, complete with simulated smoke, but a live burn is an opportunity for volunteers to really know what it’s like to respond to a call, short of actually being involved.

“We can set up different scenarios, whether it’s a basement, a bedroom fire, a kitchen fire, whatever it might be we can simulate it,” added Wegst.

“It’s not like a bonfire; it’s not like we just light it and watch it burn. We’ll do evolutions inside the house, we’ll burn a room, then go in and extinguish it.”

All six Depew fire departments will be participating, and maybe a couple of Cheektowaga departments, according to Wegst.

The Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance Corps, or LVAC, will also be on scene for first aid support.

“We’re going to utilize our mutual aid neighboring departments, invite them, so we can train with them. It helps us learn their tools,” added Wegst.

The fire chief told The Bee it would be OK for residents to watch the training in progress, but safety always takes precedence over a good view. Anyone who wants to watch the live burn must park away from the property, but still along Broadway.

The next Depew Village Board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, May 22, at 85 Manitou St. There is always a work session one hour prior to each board meeting.

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