Biloxi firefighters train at building fire

The Biloxi Fire Department on Monday burned down a building that it had been using as a classroom for several months, and Fire Chief David Roberts said firefighters gained valuable experience from the exercise.

Since January, firefighters have used the former clubhouse at the former Edgewater Bay Golf Course to practice techniques involving ventilation, search and rescue, fire attack and arson detection. Owners of the site offered the building to the department as a temporary training site.

On Monday, the department ignited the 2,000-square-foot wood-frame building in an “exposure control” exercise.

In the exercise, about two dozen firefighters, including five who have been with the Biloxi Fire Department for less than a year, were successful in keeping the fire from spreading to an adjacent building.

The fire was ignited around 11:30 a.m., and within an hour the structure was collapsing, but it did not spread to the neighboring structure.

“We do a lot classroom training throughout the year,” Roberts said, “but hands-on training like this is invaluable experience for our firefighters. It provides us an opportunity to put the classroom training to the test at a fire scene.”

Training will continue for several more days, but the site is not open to the public.