Rhinelander Fire Department repurposes house for trainingSubmitted: 09/03/2013
Story By Lex Gray

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander firefighters trained for a fire in a real house today. A house on the corner of Frederick and Baird will be knocked down in October.

The Rhinelander Fire Department is using it for training the whole month of September.

They're filling it with fog, then sending firefighters in to do search and rescue.

"Having a real house like this is important because we don't know the layout," said Deputy Chief Dale Wege. "So when we do our search and rescue stuff, that's what it would be in a real house. We don't know what the houses look like. You learn to just right hand search or left hand search, and you need to be good at that."

Eighteen firefighters from the department will train at the house. They also practice putting ladders up and ventilating the house.

The material they use to smoke the house out is safe for firefighters and neighbors, unlike actually setting it on fire.

"Most people would like us to burn the buildings, but with the amount of asbestos and close exposures, we might end up causing more damage than we are doing anything to learn. Fires are bad enough," Wege said.

The fire department didn't have to pay to use the house.

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