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Training burn educates firefighters, legislators, fire marshal investigators

Firefighters, legislators and arson investigators all benefited from a training fire conducted by the Plato Fire Department at an abandoned farm home Friday afternoon.
And the general public also will benefit. As part of the training, a cameraman from KMSP-TV in Minneapolis was there to film the impact of residential sprinklers on safety and protection of property.
The training was conducted by Jamie Novak, a fire investigator for the St. Paul Fire Department, with assistance from Casey Stotts, an investigator for the Minnesota State Fire Marshal.
Novak and KMSP-TV are working on a piece regarding residential sprinkling systems. As of now, sprinkling systems are not required in Minnesota homes, but fire officials would like to see legislation requiring sprinkling in newly constructed homes.
To that end, Plato Fire Chief Jay Wood, also a member of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, invited local legislators to the training. Both State Sen. Scott Newman and State Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen were on hand.
Wood said the Plato Fire Department got involved with the training after members attended a similar training offered in Norwood Young America.
“The guys absolutely loved it,” Wood said of the training.

Friday’s training started first with a comparison of fire spread in a room that has a sprinkler head, and a room that does not.
Both rooms were bedrooms and contained a bed, chair and other typical bedroom furniture.
Novak installed a sprinkler head in one bedroom, which was fed water from a Plato fire truck. He then lit the mattress on the bed on fire.
Once the room temperature reached about 140 degrees, Stotts explained, a glass tube in the sprinkler head gave way, allowing water to flow into the room.
Once the fire was extinguished by the sprinkler, the only damage was to about a quarter of the mattress, water on the floor and some smoke damage.
“You could theoretically throw out the mattress, clean up the water and begin using this room again tonight,” said Novak.

For more, see the July 13 print edition of The Chronicle.