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Training on fighting propane fires lights up Freedom Park
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Firefighters from Rincon, Effingham Fire and Rescue and Pooler took turns forming teams to attack a burning propane tank Saturday afternoon at Freedom Park in a training exercise. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

As flames roared into the sky and even toward them, wave after wave of firefighters advanced to the burning propane tank Saturday evening, all as part of their continuing training.

Rincon Fire Department hosted the training at the city’s Freedom Park, with the propane tank set up just in front of the public works department. Personnel from Rincon, Pooler and Effingham Fire and Rescue departments took turns learning how to combat a burning propane.

Effingham Fire Chief Clint Hodges said opportunities to train on propane tank fires – and there are a lot of propane tanks in the county — are limited.

“There is no perfect way to train for them,” he said. “We have to do things like this. We have had incidents where we have had propane tanks impinged on.”

The crews were mixed from three departments. As a phalanx of firefighters advanced on the burning tank, another crew stood ready at the side, in case things went wrong.

There were four rotations per team, and nine firefighters per team. The team leader stayed in the center, making sure the tightly-bunched firefighters manning the nozzles kept a cone of water aimed at the fire.

Employing teams of firefighters from all departments in the training also could pay off when the units have to respond and support each other at a fire.

“It gives us a chance to work together, so when we get on a scene, everyone works well together,” Hodges said.

Effingham Fire and Rescue built the propane tank prop for its use, and with the number of instructors in that department and with Rincon, the two departments don’t need to rely as much on the Georgia Fire Academy for similar training scenarios, Hodges acknowledged.