Rookie firefighters burned at training
Chief, former chief say such injuries common
BY BARRY WILLIAM WALSH
Two probationary firefighters suffered minor burns Wednesday during a training fire at a home near Indiana Wesleyan University's campus, Marion Fire Chief Steve Gorrell said.
"It's something that we deal with every working fire we have - somebody will get burned," he said.
Probationary firefighters Brandon Eckstein and Ryan Simpkins suffered steam burns, caused by the evaporation of liquid on skin, Gorrell said. The burns occurred during a training fire at a vacant residence at 202 E. 38th St.
"If they aren't completely covered, if any wetness occurs, (a steam burn) is automatic," he said.
Former Marion Fire Chief Mike Hutcheson, who spent more than 31 years on the city's fire department, agreed.
"Steam burns can happen about any time when you are fighting fires," Hutcheson said. " ... You just have to be careful what you are doing."
Neither firefighter's injuries were too serious, Gorrell said. Eckstein's burn caused some redness on his shoulder. He was treated by medical personnel at the scene. Simpkins' burn caused some blisters on his fingers, and he was treated at Work Right Occupational Medicine.
Gorrell also said the two firefighters were using borrowed fire equipment because the equipment that had been ordered for them had yet to arrive.
"This will be the last type of hands-on training for a year, so we wanted to jump on there and get them their training as soon as possible," he said.
The steam burns the two firefighters suffered are part of the training experience that all new firefighters go through, Gorrell said.
"It's just kind of a common thing," he said. "Once (a firefighter) gets the hang of it, when you feel a certain type of heat, you realize you have got to back up. It kind of shows that they aren't afraid to get in there and fight the fire."
Gorrell estimated that at every fire a firefighter gets burned in some fashion - some are just more serious than others. Firefighters also have ointment and water at the scene of every fire to treat any burns that do occur.
"If a fireman is on the department and doesn't get burned, he isn't doing his job," Gorrell said. "If they don't get burned, I don't want them our department. If they are afraid to get burned, they're on the wrong job."
Originally published February 3, 2006
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02-03-2006, 06:25 PM #1
Rookie firefighters burned at trainingBuckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
"Everybody Goes Home"
02-03-2006, 06:31 PM #2"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
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