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      Fighting flames for propane training

      The Michigan Propane Gas Association gave firefighters from Iron County an opportunity to battle catastrophic propane fires. Propane incidents are rare, making this training much more vital, especially because Michigan ranks as one of the largest consumers of propane.

      â??If they ever did have a propane accident or incident in the area, they would know how to handle it properly,â?? says MPGA Chairman Brian Lincoln.

      Firefighters sat through a classroom covering the properties and principles of propane, including liquid versus vapor.

      â??Liquid expands 270 times to vapor. Generally, on a liquid scenario, you'd have a bigger fire and more flames,â?? Brian says.

      Tips like these are important if ever faced with a propane emergency. Firefighters learned to properly extinguish the blaze, they need to spray water on all sides of the propane tank and next turn off the gas valve. If the valve can't be shut off, firefighters have to let it burn.

      The training varied from simple to complex propane explosions. Firefighters were challenged with flames reaching over 60 feet high.

      Although the training was voluntary, there were nearly three dozen participants preparing for the worst.

      â??There's a lot of valuable information to be learned,â?? says Lt. Nicholas Kegley of the Caspian Gaastra Fire Department. â??Propane is very widely used in the U.P., and you never know what you're going to come into.â??