The skies were lit up Tuesday night at Quinnesec's Verso Paper Mill for a "Burn to Learn" propane exercise.
This was the first time the Verso Mill Fire Brigade and Medical First Responders, along with Breitung Township Firefighters, underwent a joint training session.
Verso's environmental engineer, Rich Menard, described it as a "team building exercise". He continued that Breitung's firefighters can respond to fires at the mill and says "the training enables them to work with our guys, on a real training activity, to put out fires."
The two fire departments completed the live-burn training on a number of propane tanks while learning how to battle both liquid and vapor propane flames. Teams of five and worked together, covering the propane tank with water, to turn off the gas valve.
Propane incidents may be rare, but these scenarios prepare firefighters to learn the limits of their equipment and practice tactics in a controlled environment.
"It gives firefighters confidence in what they're doing and their abilities to fight fires," explains Breitung Fire Chief Jeff Iverson.
Verso's staff practiced providing medical attention if needed and ensured none were hurt or overheated during the training exercise.