Burn Buildings and Firefighter Ranks
Trainees practice operating a fire hose and put out a small fire on training grounds.
Trainees practice operating a fire hose and put out a small fire on training grounds.
IMAGE COURTESY MIKE WEIDER

There are three types of burn buildings: traditional, acquired structures and simulated structural fire buildings. Traditional burn buildings, built with special materials, can withstand multiple fires, although they do break down over time. Traditional burn buildings exist in communities, at fire academies and on university campuses. The fuel used to ignite fires in these structures is typically straw, hay or wood pallets.

Acquired structures are condemned houses or other abandoned buildings. Instructors locate a suitable building and begin a tedious process. First, an instructor gets written permission from the building’s owner and acquires necessary permits and health clearances to proceed. They notify everyone in the surrounding community of the pending burn, including residences and businesses. Instructors make certain there’s no insurance or liens on the property to prevent fraudulent claims and legal trouble. With the legal issues out of the way, site preparation begins. Here’s how the process works: