You may have looked toward the PR-B School on Monday night, saw a huge fireball and lots of firefighters, and thought there was an explosion.
But it was actually a propane burn training exercise conducted by Fire Instruction and Rescue Education, Incorporated (F.I.R.E. Inc.), Dale Mashuga who owns the company and teaches courses, and Billy Rickard, of the Pequot Lakes Fire Department, were on hand to teach the course.
Each time, as a fireball shot up into the sky, two rows of fire fighters armed with a high-pressure water hose would slowly approach the inferno with a goal of shutting off the valve to the tank.
The firefighters wore their protective gear because they were dealing with a very hot fire caused by liquid propane gas.
Even though it would appear that the firefighters doused the blaze with water, the water was actually just for cooling down the propane tank and protecting the firefighters.
The fire is actually put out by an instructor shutting the valve on the tank.
During training exercises the firemen are not permitted to handle the tanks, even though they will be called on to do so in a real situation.
"The heat is one of the hazards," explains Pine River Fire Department (PRFD) member Ryan Trumble. "And then you have the chance of the tank exploding if the vapors expand. The PRFD acknowledges that safety is our number one priority. Propane is a very safe and efficient home heating fuel. Although, accidents do happen and we need to be prepared to deal with them; a controlled propane burn gives firefighters hands-on training."
Cenex Northern Star Co-Op provided the tanker truck and LP gas. PR-B Schools permitted the use of the parking lot for training.
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