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Future house burn planned as training for Streetsboro Fire Department

by Mike Lesko | Reporter Published: July 23, 2014 12:00 AM

Streetsboro -- The city's fire department will be able to use a vacant house in Streetsboro for fire training sessions.

No date has been set for the training, which will take place at the last house on Stone Road before Ravenna Road in Streetsboro.

"It's too soon to say what the timetable is to start," said Fire Chief Robert Reinholz, adding that it could be late summer or early fall.

Reinholz said the opportunity arose after he received a call from a Hudson man who recently bought the property and house on Stone Road.

"The man said, 'I wonder if the fire department can use this house to train. I looked at it and said yes,'" Reinholz said.

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Reinholz said he contacted the Hudson Fire Department, which he said also is interested in using the house for fire training sessions. Each department agreed to pay $700, which will fund an environmental study and asbestos removal that he said is required before the house can be burned.

Reinholz said he would like to plan several training events at the house. He would like to use the house as long as possible, starting fires, then putting them out.

Now, most fire training is done at the fire station, he said.

"It's nice to have a house where we can have a different kind of training," he said.

Reinholz said a house burn is like "a laboratory" for firefighters. He said the fire training sessions "reinforce skills they already have."

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"It's like anything else in life. If you only practice a musical instrument once every two months as opposed to every day, you won't be as good. In this type of training, you can stop the fire and talk about what we could have done differently," he said. "We have an array of things we can do."

Reinholz said home is about 1,000 square feet, "so it's small, but I don't care. In real life, you don't have that opportunity to train. It's invaluable. It's a great chance to get hands-on experience."

While having a house to use as a training "laboratory" is "a unique opportunity," he said more houses can be used for training in Portage County than in Cuyahoga County, where the houses "are more congested" and a fire can spread more easily.

Reinholz said the fire department's most recent house burn was two years ago at the entrance to Thomas Heritage Park on Route 303. He said firefighters from Streetsboro, Hudson, Hiram and Mantua attended.

"When we start a fire, we always have a water line ready to put it out as a safety valve," he said.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9439

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