by: AmyPhilips Haller

This weekend, November 8th and 9th, 2003, in Scott Township, Bower Hill Firefighters will be sponsoring a live burn for area fire departments to advance their training. "This is a rare opportunity. The Scrubgrass house was donated to Station 255 last year. We have used it for drills: basically practicing fire and rescue techniques for the last 12 months. I guess you could say burning down the house is the grand finale, " stated Pete Yohe, Battalion Chief 255.

The Scrubgrass house was formerly the home of the head of Kane Hospital security. It has been deserted for years. The idea to use the property as a mock fire and rescue establishment was the brainchild of Pete Yohe, Scrubgrass Project Manager. "Our ultimate goal has always been to end the training with an actual burn."

The two-day event will include one day of instruction at Mt. Lebanon Fire Department, with a few hours of smoke only training at the Scrubgrass location. On Sunday, the firefighters will begin by burning one room at a time. According to Yohe, "As long as the house remains stable we will continue to ignite afire and put it out in each room. The firefighters will be organized in teams of 5 or 6. They will rotate positions from Rapid Intervention Team, Attack, Back Up, Rehab, and Support Services. If at any point, the home is deemed unsafe, it will be burned to the ground at that point."

Although firefighters take an essentials class, where they are trained to combat structural fires, this is an opportunity to practice advanced techniques. There will be four departments participating in this event: Bower Hill, Mt. Lebanon, Oak Ridge, and East Carnegie. This is a great opportunity for the media to get an inside look at how our local firefighters learn how to save lives and fight fires.

What: Advanced firefighting training, including a Pennsylvania State Certified Structural Burn Session. This is a great opportunity for the media to learn about how we train to save lives and property; as well as seeing firsthand the risks we take. 

Who: Sponsored by Bower Hill Volunteer Fire Department of Scott Township 

When:Saturday, November 8, 2003:  Instruction (8 AM - 1 PM)
                                                            Smoke Only Training (2 PM - 4 PM)
           Sunday, November 9, 2003:   Live Burn of the house (8 AM Walk-through, Burn at 9 AM) 

Where: Scott Township, On the Corner of Scrubgrass Road and Main Street

Contact: Battalion Chief Pete Yohe at 412-221-3497