Rescue Hose Co. firefighters learn before house razed

Members of Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 try out firefighting skills in a safe environment. They used a vacant house to learn how to ventilate buildings.

Approximately 20 junior and regular members of the Rescue Hose Company underwent real life training at 604 S. Allison St. one April evening. The department was given permission to do what it needed to do for the lesson.

“The owners invited us to rip the house up before they rip it down,” said fire chief Kevin Barnes. “Such opportunities don’t present themselves often.”

The crew practiced ventilation techniques by hacking holes into the roof, and learned how to handle ladders. High-powered lights from fire trucks illuminated the house as the sun set. RHC members directed traffic since their appartus was parked along the quiet street. Pedestrians from the neighborhood stopped by to watch.

The day before, the Chambersburg SWAT team had used the structure for its exercises, and left a few windows intact for Greencastle.

RHC administrator Brian Barkdoll said the company held periodic training sessions at various locales to teach members operations of the fire department, including rescue squad protocol, tearing down walls, using air packs,  understanding salvage techniques and finding trapped victims.

Barnes added, “The purpose is to improve or gain proficiency in fire fighting skills.”