Firefighters and engines from four different fire departments gathered at 139 Elm Street in Jackson this past Thursday morning to get some fire training.
Firefighters from Butts County, Jackson, Flovilla, and the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison took part in the training.
The city took over the property two years ago, and Jackson Fire Chief Harvey Norris said they used the wood frame house for training.
“We’ve used it for a variety of training: search and rescue, pulling walls, breaching walls, cutting holes in the roof; all of those things that help us to be able to know how to do these things when we get out into the real world,” said Norris.
He added that they finally determined it was time to burn the house for training purposes and got permission from the city to do so.
“We started setting up our engines at 8 a.m.,” he said. “We started the first burn at 10 a.m. We did what is called a ‘settee,’ where we put new firefighters in a room and start the room to burning and let it get up to 1,000-1,200 degrees and let them sit there for about five minutes (to get used to the heat).
“After that we started rotations in and out. We had four teams of five firefighters, and we were able to get all four teams to go in and use the hose nozzles to put out the fire. They did it, and we’d light it back up for the next team.
“We finished at 11:30 a.m. and just let the house burn itself down,” Norris said. “It turned out to be a good deal and a good day.”
Mayor Kay Pippin is hoping that the good-sized lot won’t sit vacant for long.
“We have a concept drawn up of putting a little pocket park in there,” she said. “What I want to do is put in a couple of basketball goals and some benches. We ran into a couple of complications and got away from that project, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going back to it.”
The mayor added that the majority of the residents in the area are in favor of a pocket park.
“I walked to every house in that neighborhood before I started floating that idea,” said Pippin. “What fascinated me was the older the individual I talked with, the more supportive they were of such a place. The elderly people repeated that the young kids over there have nothing to do but get in trouble. They said, ‘Give them a place to go, but also put in some benches so we can go and sit and watch them.’ I thought that was delightful.”