Firefighters fight high flames in propane fire training

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Flames were reaching as high as 60 feet Wednesday night in the Westwood Mall parking lot, but luckily these fires were planned.

"We will start with a small fire, work up through a grill, then through a large cylinder and at the end we will work on an ASME tank," explained the chairman for the Michigan Propane Gas Association Brian Lincoln.

But before the 59 fire fighters could put out the fires, they had to hit the classroom where the Michigan Propane Gas Association explained the basics of propane.

"We will be able to tell them what the boiling point of the property is, the expansion rate from liquid to vapor," said Lincoln. "We don’t make them propane guys in an hour, but we do try to cover the important aspects of a container."

The MPGA travels throughout Michigan during the summer with these training sessions and stops by the U.P. twice a year.

"Fire departments don’t deal with propane fires because there’s not many propane accidents involving fire so that’s one of the reasons why we come up we do this, to just to refresh them," said Lincoln.

Lincoln pointed out that propane fires are unique because the goal isn’t to put out the fire, it’s to turn off the source.

"That’s why we do the hands on live training, it’s better than just seeing it on a movie strip so we will actually gear these guys up and we will take them in one group at time, run them in and let them shut the valve off," said Lincoln.

"It’s a lot more intense than I thought it would be," said Brian Kleven, a Sands Township firefighter, "This is my first time ever experiencing something like this for training, but it’s a really great training for all of us to have. Michigan has the most propane houses so when push comes to shove you’ll hit a house with a propane tank than a natural gas one."

The firefighters that participated in both the classroom and the outdoor training will receive a certificate from the state for their hard work Wednesday night.

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