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Airport firefighters conduct live fire training

Firefighters conducted live fire training at the South Bend International Airport Monday morning.

St. Joseph County Airport Authority Department of Public Safety is required to conduct the fire safety training every year to remain certified.

“What we’re doing now is connecting our annual live fire burns that are required by the FAA for all airports. So all airport firefighters have to do this training every year to stay certified," Chief Mike Ornat said.

The firefighters lit an airplane shell on fire as part of the training.

“We’re using diesel fuel right now, and jet fuel if we can get it. But diesel fuel has the similar burn characteristics as jet fuel and so we do that so it’s realistic. We’re trained to put out large flammable liquid fuel fires, the main threat we could encounter on an aircraft," Chief Ornat said.

The training is a good opportunity for the firefighters.

“We always try to refine our tactics. Like today we’re doing more of off apparatus, we call it truck attacks. So we’re doing more of those then mop it with a hand line and we also do interior fires as well”

During the training, thick black smoke escaped from the plane.

“They’re doing great. Hot day but that’s all right. Its training day and training day is a good day,” Chief Ornat said.

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