Fire Department completes live-burn exercise

Biloxi firefighters set a house ablaze this morning in North Biloxi and stood by as it became fully engulfed and burned to the ground.

It was part of a live-burn training exercise in which firefighters gained real-time, real-fire experience.

“The wholesale burning of the house was only part of the exercise, the most dramatic part,” said Fire Chief Joe Boney. “But our firefighters have been training for weeks in this vacant house on Camp Wilkes Road. They did smoke testing weeks ago. They set fires in two separate rooms of the house this morning and practiced attack, and after that exercise was completed the entire structure was set on fire.”

The 1960s-era home, which stood on a large vacant lot, was fully engulfed 11 minutes after firefighters set the blaze at its north end, and was burned to the ground less than a hour later. “The wind from the north really pushed this fire,” Boney said.

It was the first real house fire for a handful of firefighters of the dozens on the scene throughout the morning. Two firefighters received minor injuries – a twisted ankle and a superficial burn – during the initial phases of training.

“From a training standpoint, this exercise did everything we wanted it to do,” Boney said. “Our firefighters received real-time training in a real-time fire. It’s invaluable for our firefighters – new ones and veterans – because it gives them expertise in situational awareness, which is the No. 1 factor in saving lives on the fire ground. Over the next several days and weeks we’ll be reviewing how things went, how the fire evolved and how we can improve our firefighting tactics.”
Video: See the pre-exercise safety briefing
Video: See the actual fire, art 1
Video: See the actual fire, Part 2
Gallery: A host of photos from the scene