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LOUISVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — Some veteran firefighters got a little wiser and some rookies learned some valuable lessons.

Louisville and Winston County firefighters used a donated old home for a day of real-life fire training Saturday. In addition to learning some basics like operating pumpers and venting roofs and attics, veteran fire chief Terry Johnson set fires in different parts of the house and took firefighters through exercises on how to attack different kinds of fires in different locations. For Johnson, it was a rare opportunity for in the line of fire training. For an outsider who went through it, it was a real learning experience.

“The value of it, you can’t put a monetary value on it, or a training value on it. A better understanding of what’s going on gives us better tools to fight the fire and put the fire out,” Johnson explained.

“But once you are in there and you see them inches away from fire that you can reach out and feel the heat pouring off of it and you know they have to stay in there and put it out and you can get up and leave if you want to, it does heighten your respect for firefighters and the job they have to do,” said Joseph McCain, editor of the Winston County Journal who went through one of the drills with the firefighters.

“You breathe harder. You don’t realize it but with all the smoke closing in on you in such a confined space, it’s how you react,” added McCain, who will publish a story and photos about his experience in this week’s edition.

Johnson may ask aldermen to allow the department to burn down other dilapidated houses to save money on training and the cost to the city for demolition.

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