Six area fire departments got a chance to sharpen their firefighting skills Sunday when the Cedar Springs Fire Department hosted a controlled burn at an old house on Pine Street.
The house, located west of the Wesco Station, was donated by the Verduin family for the practice burn. Cedar Springs Fire Chief Jerry Gross said that one of the owners, Todd VerDuin, a Cedar Springs graduate, is a firefighter in Ionia. “He’s well aware of the help that the practice burn is to local fire departments,” said Gross.
Gross said the 37 firefighters from Cedar Springs, Solon, Sand Lake, Courtland, Algoma, and Alpine participated in the burn of the two-story house and several outbuildings. He noted that one of the things they do inside is note the structural weaknesses of a dwelling and how it changes during a fire. He said that this particular home was an older home, without any fire stops in the walls. “The walls were wide open, like an open shell where the fire runs right through the walls,” he explained. “So it went up pretty quickly.”
They started the burn early Sunday morning about 7:45 a.m. and cleared the scene about 2:30 p.m. “I think it went well,” remarked Gross. “It gave us practice and gave the opportunity for some council members and city employees to see first hand what we do.”