Norwich Fire feels the burn

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Eric Francis

Practice doesn't get more real

Firefighters from Norwich, Etna and Hanover deliberately burned a farmhouse from the 1930s to the ground on Saturday morning, giving them the chance to practice a variety of fire suppression tactics.

"This is very exciting," said Norwich Firefighter Aaron Lamperti (center) whose father John, a retired math professor from Dartmouth College, donated the house for Saturday's burn. "For a long while we thought we were going to renovate the house but over time it looked less and less salvageable," Lamperti noted.

"We're going to get as many fires out of this house as we can this morning," Lebanon Fire Captain Jim Wheatley (center) explained as he led engine crews on a tour before the first fire was lit. Piles of wooden pallets and bales of hay were set alight with flares to provide the fire conditions and all doors, windows and screens were removed from the house and replaced with hinged plywood covers to provide plenty of points of escape for the firefighters in case things got out of hand. The work to remove any hazardous materials and prepare the house, which was last lived in by the late Anita Lathrop, in order for it to be safely used for Saturday's training took place over the course of several months.

Norwich Assistant Chief Matt Swett (left) and Chief Stephen Leinoff (right) went over safety and personnel accountability strategies, a big issue for fire departments in the event of a unexpected collapse or other emergency, before engine crews entered the house.

Swett was in charge of operations at the scene.

Crews drew water from a hydrant on Upper Loveland Road uphill through 1,400 feet of supply hose and had an additional pair of fire pumper trucks positioned even further up the hill above the fire scene as an added safety precaution, something they would not usually have the luxury of doing at an unplanned house fire.

Norwich Town Clerk Bonnie Munday, who is also an emergency medical technician with the Norwich FAST Squad, set up a triage tent along with Hanover Fire Captain Chris Doolan.

Firefighters got the last of their gear on in the front room moments before it was torched

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