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Firefighters turn up heat

While most of the South faced blazin' temperatures last weekend, members of Thomson Fire Rescue took the concept literally.

Seventeen firefighters participated in an in-service training class to learn Pressurized Container Fire Control. A portion of the gas was donated by Town and Country Gas in Wrens and pumped through a 500-gallon tank that belonged to the fire department. The compressed gas was ignited for the class, and Thomson Fire Chief Rick Sewell said each one in the class got a chance to turn off the valve while the other firefighters controlled the blaze. Town and Country Manager Billy Usry said 88 gallons of propane was used in the training exercise.

"First, they have to cool the top of the tank with straight streams, then use a wide fog pattern to push the fire back and enable someone to get close enough to turn off the valve," Chief Sewell said.

Sharon Sparks, an instructor with the Georgia Fire Academy, taught Saturday's class in Thomson, which was extra training for all certified firefighters. Before the hands-on experience, firefighters spent four hours in the classroom learning the different means of transporting compressed gas, the types of containers it comes in, the dangers of the product itself and heard cases of actual container fires.

"I get to travel all over the state doing this," Ms. Sparks said.

"I always like to come to Thomson. This is a great group to work with, and they always make my job easier."

Local fire personnel who participated in the training include: Chief Sewell; Deputy Chief Johnny Crawley; Assistant Chiefs David Hawkins and Jimmy Williams, Sr.; Captains Raymond Brinkley and Paul Johnson; Lieutenants Chris Reynolds, Chip Bentley, and Dwayne Sewell; and Firefighters Calvin Leggett, Jimmy Williams, Jr., Brian Ashley, Wesley Sparks, Marc Kamerad, Ron Cody, Adam Clark and Scott Cook.

Web posted on Thursday, June 17, 2010

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