OFD incinerates house for training

OFD looks on as a house burns for firefighter training. (Chris Arbino/KTVO)

The Ottumwa Fire Department culminated a month's worth of training Monday morning by incinerating a house on Ottumwa's east side.

The building, located at 523 Vernon Street, had been a placarded dwelling since January 2012.

Crews worked to keep the fire under control by collapsing the walls of the house toward the center of the foundation and keeping nearby trees soaked with water to prevent them from catching on fire.

Torching the house is the last of a series of training operations that have occurred at the residence over the past four weeks.

Firefighters have been cutting holes in the house for ventilation and performing other life-saver exercises during that time.

Fire Chief Tony Miller said it's a great way for his firefighters to learn to combat the heat and other dangerous elements of a structure fire in a controlled environment.

The firefighters need all the training they can get.

Their 2017 report states they responded to 56 structure fires in Ottumwa, 14 of which were determined to be arson.

OFD is allowed to burn two houses per year for training.

Miller said the next such operation will occur sometime this fall.

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