Albert Lea firefighters use controlled burn for training - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Albert Lea firefighters use controlled burn for training

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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Firefighters in Albert Lea participated in a controlled burn in the 800 block of W. William Street on Thursday.  This year, the city is hosting the Minnesota State Fire Marshal fire investigation class.

In early March, participants took four days of basic training and Thursday's controlled burn was the second phase of the class.  Fires were set in five rooms of the house -- some to simulate accidental fires and intentional fires.  Next week, fire marshal candidates will examine the wreckage and investigate to determine a cause.

"With these being known, set, arson fires, it builds their ability to investigate, put together the data -- the information -- and actually prepare a court case if they want to go try the person for an arson fire," said Capt. Mark Roche with the Albert Lea Fire Department.

Capt. Mark Light with the Albert Lea Fire Department has set fire to many houses used for controlled burns throughout his career. He says it's an important experience to a firefighter's education.

"It's kind of fun to be able to do both sides of it now today, because we light them and we get to put it out.  And you've got a lot of control over things at that point where normally you're trying to gain control.  Here, at least, you've got a pretty good idea and a lot of influence on what happens with these fires," Light said.

According to the fire department, it takes months of preparation to acquire and prep the properties used in controlled burns.  Precautions were taken in Thursday's burn to ensure the safety of the crew and surrounding community during and after the burn.

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