WSAW NewsChannel 7  | Central WI, Wausau, Rhinelander  |  News, Weather, Sports

Area Firefighters Train to Fight Hotter, Faster Moving Fires


It's a home owners worst nightmare, a house fire. Now those fires are burning hotter and faster than ever putting your life and the lives of your family in jeopardy. Luckily, firefighters are prepared to answer the call.

Imagine waking up to flames shooting over your head. It's a scary thought, but an all to real possibility. Even scarier is the fact that it can take a small fire a mere matter of minutes to fill a room.

"I don't think people realize, they think that they can wake up from the fire or they'll hear the smoke detector and they'll have time to gather their belongings and get out," Wausau Fire Department Battalion Chief Paul Czarapata told NewsChannel 7.

House fires are burning even faster and hotter than they did in the past. That's because of the material homes, furniture and even our clothing is made from.

"Furniture used to be made of cotton, wood... now everything is made of petrolium products," Czarapata explained. "So you look at a couch and there is several gallons of gasoline in solid form in your couch. That starts on fire, in thirty to forty seconds you'll have a fire that's so overwhelming you can't get out."

In order to help firefighters respond to the changing nature of the fires they're fighting, firefighters across central Wisconsin are learning new techniques during training burns to better fight fires.

Another goal of the live fire training is for firefighters to determine how the fire started, an important skill especially in arson cases. A crime Czarapata says is getting more and more difficult to decipher.

"What ends up happening is that arsonists try and find other techniques to beat that and so we're always trying to stay on top of that."

During training, firefighters recreate past arson cases. After the fire is extinguished, crews study how the fire looked and behaved and the evidence it left behind,

Czarapata described the process his team goes through every time they investigate a fire.

"We'll look for flammable liquids. We'll see burn patterns in the floor so they can take samples and have that tested after the fact."

Now firefighters in our area are prepared, prepared to protect you and your family if the unthinkable happens.

"We'll be better at arson investigation. We'll be better at putting fire out," Czarapata said.

So the next time you have five minutes, think about the difference that short amount of time can make in the case of a fire.

Czarapata's advice, "Get out. Stay out and get us contacted so we can get here and put the fire out for you."


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