Ames residents will see fire and smoke in a dorm on the Iowa State University campus today (Thursday). It’s not a student party gone wild — Ames Fire Chief Clint Peterson says they’re setting a fire in Knapp Hall to train firefighters in how to work in tall buildings. He says, “It gives us chance to practice some techniques that we rarely get to actually apply in a live firefighting situation.” Knapp Hall and it’s partner Storms Hall are being phased out and university officials plan to implode them later this year. Peterson says a specialist from Louisville, Kentucky is helping train the Ames firefighters in high-rise firefighting techniques. He says high-rise fires present a whole different set of problems to firefighter’s safety and occupant safety. He says the height of the building is one obvious problem, but also they way the buildings are constructed and the fire suppression systems are different from a regular home. Peterson says Ames has seen many new medium and high-rise buildings constructed in recent years. He says a high-rise is typically over 75 feet or five stories in height. Peterson says his department has a 105-foot ladder truck that in optimal conditions can reach up to the eighth floor. Knapp Hall is the equivalent of 12 stories and is 129 feet high. Peterson says you can watch the training Thursday on-line. He says they’ll get started about 8-30 this morning and you can get on the I-S-U website and there’s a webcam that’ll show the fire training. Peterson says his firefighters began practicing various high-rise firefighting techniques Monday and will finish the training with today’s live fire.
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