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Mississippi Fire Academy certifies 14 Warren County firefighters

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A vapor fire that was put out safely by fire fighters at the Mississippi Fire Academy. [all photos by David Day]

Three out of every four firefighters in the U.S. are volunteers.

That’s one bit of information coming out of today’s training at the Mississippi State Fire Academy in Pearl.

But “volunteer” doesn’t mean “untrained.” Far from it.

Vicksburg and Warren County volunteer firefighters go through rigorous training. Warren County firefighters endured 120 hours of training over several months to earn the right to attend the Mississippi Fire Academy. Subjects covered include fire behavior, personal protective equipment, ropes and knots, and much more. Those basics are about 80 hours, said County Fire Coordinator Gerald Briggs, but Warren County added another 40 hours to cover cancer awareness and traffic incident management.

Even meeting the prerequisites to begin training is a rigorous process. Among them are a host of related certifications including CPR and emergency first aid required of emergency medical technicians. Then there are the physical and mental requirements including being able to climb six or seven flights of stairs carrying 50 pounds or more of protective gear and making good decisions under the extreme stress of many claustrophobic and dangerous firefighting scenarios.

Today the Warren County group had to prove they had the right stuff to be certified as firefighters in the State of Mississippi, which has one of the most demanding sets of requirements for firefighters in the country. The academy holds everyone, including themselves, to a high standard.

“The Mississippi State Fire Academy is one of, if not the best firefighter training academy in the world,” says Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney on the MSFA website.

“Good training, knowledge and skill can help a firefighter survive the physical dangers of the job. The training(s) the State Fire Academy offers continue to be the most up-to-date and advanced as they can be,” Chaney adds.

Fire Coordinator Briggs, E-911 Director Shane Garrard along with Chuck Tate, former E-911 director and former Culkin fire chief, and the departmental chiefs provided most of the training for the firefighters. Every Monday and Thursday night since November, the trainees were in class or receiving hands-on training on how to approach the many situations a firefighter faces.

The primary focus of all the training is safety.

Today at the Fire Academy the new firefighters had to pass several tests—everything from getting into their turnouts in two minutes or less—no small feat—to putting out a massive vapor fire safely.

Firefighters were given two minutes to put on some 50 to 70 pounds of gear.

E911 Director Shane Garrard decked out in firefighting gear.

The fourteen that graduated are, from the left, standing: Jeff Riggs, Culkin; Zachary Hearn, Northeast; Robert Whitten, Fisher Ferry; Joe Wooten, Bovina; Makenna Blair, Fisher Ferry; Wendell Blair, Fisher Ferry; Steven Cunningham, Fisher Ferry; Brian Sellers, Letourneau; Chris Jones, Culkin; Nick Davies, Letourneau; and Antonio Austin, Bovina. Sitting, from left: Cedrick Martin, Culkin; Neil Pryor, Fisher Ferry; and John Wright, Fisher Ferry.

Congratulations to one and all.

Fire

Polk Street home destroyed in overnight blaze

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(photo submitted by VDNews reader)

An overnight fire on Polk Street has left one home destroyed and two neighboring homes damaged.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

The fire at 1028 Polk Street was first reported at 12:53 a.m. Sunday as a burning mattress on the front porch. Vicksburg Fire Department Battalion Chief Henry Williams said that the house was heavily involved upon firefighters’ arrival, and VFD spent several hours battling the blaze.

Engines 6, 7, 8, Platform 1, Rescue, Fire Medic 40 and Battalion 1 responded to extinguish the fire.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

According to Vicksburg Fire Department Chief Craig Danczyk, the structure is a total loss. The homes at 1026 Polk Street and 1030 Polk Street also received damage.

There were no injuries reported.

 

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Early morning house fire on Bowmar Avenue – VIDEO

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Photo by Thomas Parker

A home on Bowmar Avenue caught fire just before 3 a.m. Friday.

Vicksburg Police Deputy Chief Bobby Stewart was the first to arrive, and he found that the house was already heavily involved with smoke showing.

No one was injured in the blaze. Neighbors report that the house is vacant and undergoing renovations.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

According to Chief Danczyk, it appears that the fire started in the rear of the house.  A full investigation into the cause and origin of the blaze will be conducted.

Engines 6, 7, Platform 1, Rescue, Fire Medic 40, along with Battalion 1 (Carl Carson) and Fire Chief Craig Danczyk all responded to help extinguish the fire.

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Early morning fire destroys Warren County mobile home – VIDEO

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Photo by Thomas Parker

A Warren County family lost their home and vehicle to a fire Thursday morning, but escaped the blaze unharmed.

Warren County firefighters responded to an early morning structure fire at Pecanwood Mobile Home Park at 2460 Old Highway 27, Lot 10 for a residential fire. The call was dispatched at 4:40 a.m.

According to Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs, early arriving firefighters found the single-wide mobile home heavily involved and the residents’ vehicle approximately 50% involved.

Photo by Thomas Parker

Firefighters concentrated their early efforts on extinguishing the vehicle and protecting the adjacent structures as they were extremely close to the blaze. An additional issue was the large amount of leaves and trees that were fueling the fire.

Briggs said the three occupants were safely evacuated. A Vicksburg Fire Medic Unit responded to the scene to examine the residents for possible smoke inhalation, but all refused transport to a medical facility.

Photo by Thomas Parker

Briggs said the cause and origin of the fire is under investigation, but it appears the fire started in the central area of the mobile home. He went on to remind the public that with the change in weather conditions to please use caution with heating devices. Plug electric heaters directly into the wall outlet. He also encourages everyone to have working smoke detectors throughout their homes.

Engines 303 (Fisher Ferry) and 205 (Culkin) responded to battle the blaze along with firefighters from throughout the county.

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