They suited up, got their gear in place, and went head-on into a burning home. About 50 firefighters from six different townships battled a series of fires and all were intentionally set. But according to Chief Charles Cribley, of Windsor Township Emergency Services, none were arson.
"The number of house fires in the U.S. has dropped in the last 25 years. So new firefighters don't have the opportunity to get experience like they used to when they were fighting fires all the time."
It was a training collaboration between Windsor, Delhi, Eaton Rapids, Benton, Eaton Rapids City, and Hamlin Townships. And the purpose was to learn how to work together, especially at a time when many fire departments are beginning to regionalize.
"We have to coordinate all efforts. There's coordination between ventilation and supplying water. All of these things are extremely important. The only way to learn how to do that is to build an actual fire."
In addition to about 240 hours of schooling, the session is a refresher for veterans and a new experience for novices.
"The real test is to actually burn something, set the fires and have people work together to put them out and actually use all of their skills they've been practicing for so long."
So next time you see the lights of fire trucks whizzing by, know that they may be from different departments. But they're working together as one unit, to help keep someone's home from burning to the ground.