RFD hosts controlled burn for AFC

There was a major house fire in Russellville this past week, but it was one that fire officials knew about weeks in advance.

On Thursday, the Russellville Fire Department hosted members of the Alabama Fire College’s recruit school who are training for their Firefighter 1 certification.

Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell said the school was being held at Muscle Shoals Fire Department’s training facility, which is where the AFC holds their training for this area.

“Part of what the recruits have to do is go through live fire training,” Mansell said.

“Sometimes this is a challenging thing to set up because it’s not always easy to find buildings that can be burned that are also in good enough shape that they won’t be dangerous to the recruits who are training.”

But Mansell said this particular class was in luck because the Russellville Water and Sewer Board had a house sitting on some property they acquired near their warehouse on Underwood Road that needed to be disposed of.

“This house was in decent condition and provided a great opportunity for training for these guys who come from all over the area,” Mansell said.

“This was a real, live fire and the recruits had to go in there and put what they have learned into action.

“I think the training went very well and the recruits were able to get good, hands-on training and learn a lot.”

Mansell said multiple firefighters and fire officials from the Russellville, Muscle Shoals and Florence fire departments as well as one official from Brown’s Ferry were on hand during the controlled burn in case any safety issues came up.

“In a training scenario like this, you need to have multiple lines ready for safety reasons and that means you need numerous firefighters to assist on the scene,” he said.

“This was a good event for these recruits and we were glad to assist Muscle Shoals Fire Chief Tim McMullins in setting this up. I also appreciate Andy Devaney for all the help he offered to make this a successful event.”

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