ETX fire academy to host live presentation of LPG training prop - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

ETX fire academy to host live presentation of LPG training prop

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One East Texas Fire Academy has some new training equipment thanks to a generous donation, and on Tuesday morning, you can watch them use it in a free, live training demonstration.

The Kilgore College Fire Academy Cadets will demonstrate how to use the academy's new liquid petroleum gas prop at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. It's something instructors say gives these cadets an extra element to their training that other firefighters don't get.

Instructors were able to buy the prop about nine months ago, but they say their training changed completely when Martin Gas installed the LPG tank and lines for free.

"We started using it about five months ago, but it was just the vapors. And now because of Martin Gas and their generous donation, it's now liquid, which means burns hotter, it burns faster, and it also makes a little bit better fire for us," said Mike Fennell, the lead instructor at the Kilgore College Fire Academy.

The Fire Academy Cadets say that while using the LPG prop is more straightforward than fighting a structure fire, it's important training for them to have.

"We learned how to handle it when it's on fire and be aware that an LPG can cause a lot of damage. It can explode. It can hurt people," said new firefighter Evan Slater of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

"It helps to visualize something," said Justin Woodward, a trainee and fourth-generation firefighter from Texarkana. "Instead of them sitting in a classroom and talking about it, it helps us to see it and actually perform the steps that will save our lives one day."

Instructors say the LPG prop helps teach their students about ignitable liquid pits and how to approach and control them safely.

The prop can also be used for car fire, dumpster fire and fire extinguisher training.

The need for the prop came up a couple of years ago, when hay, an important training material for the Fire Academy, was very expensive because of the drought.

"Hay, right now, back in 2011 was $10, $12 a bale. Now it's down to maybe about $4 or $5," said Fennell. "But the thing is about LPG is burned at about $1.50 per cubic foot, gallon. So basically what it's going to do is help us train the students even better and it's going to help Kilgore College save money in the long run."

The new firefighters say an important part of using the LPG prop is learning how to communicate with each other.

"We had five guys on our attack hose and we wanted to make sure all five guys were in sync, on the same page for backing out, moving in, opening up your nozzle, attacking the fire, and backing out when you're complete," Slater said.

And instructors are just proud they're able to offer the prop to their firefighters.

"There's no fire academy in this part of the country that has a prop like this," said Fennell. "We're the very first one and we're very excited about having it."

The free demonstration is taking place at the Kilgore College Fire Academy Training Grounds, located at 2100 Co. Road 174 in Kilgore (Rusk County).

Fourteen students will graduate from the Kilgore College Fire Academy No. 87 on Wednesday, June 19.

The ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Bert E. Woodruff Adult Education Center Auditorium in Kilgore. The public is invited to attend.

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