The Township of Tiny Fire Department joined students at Le Caron Secondary School in Penetanguishene for a demonstration burn on April 11, using small-scale structures created by the school’s building construction class to show how fire spreads.
The Le Caron building construction class taught by Jonathan Hamel built several small scale “burn houses” earlier in the school year for the Township of Tiny Fire Department to use for training exercises. The burn houses allow firefighters to observe actual fire behavior in changing conditions and demonstrate effective fire flow control. The demonstration burn was held in the rear parking lot at Le Caron on April 11 starting at 1:00 p.m. when Township of Tiny Fire Chief Ray Miller spoke briefly before the demonstration. Miller said that the burn houses are used for demonstrations at different fire stations as well, but sometimes the department includes the demonstration in a public event so that locals can see what happens in the event of a fire.
“What we’re going to see here today is demonstration of flow control and fire behaviour,” Miller said before the demonstration. “Our firefighters will be able to demonstrate for everybody the effectiveness of leaving the doors closed in a building and what happens to buildings when it becomes vented either naturally or accidentally.”
Firefighters guided demonstration attendees through the burn, explaining conditions such as flashover and backdraft conditions. A flashover refers to fire spreading rapidly across a gap due to intense heat and a backdraft is an explosion caused by the sudden introduction of air into a fire that has depleted most of the available oxygen in a room or building.
“You’re going to see how fire spreads throughout a building,” Miller said to the crowd at the demonstration. “We should be able to demonstrate for you what it means to have a flashover condition and a backdraft condition, two very dangerous occurrences that happen with alarming frequency, particularly in news building now because of their super energy efficiency and how airtight they are.”
Miller said the demonstration was a win-win because students were able to help the fire department by creating the burn houses and learn about carpentry skills, mass production and fire safety. He said he looks forward to doing more demonstrations in the future and wants to thank the Le Caron administration, Hamel and his building construction class, and the Town of Penetanguishene Fire Department for their assistance in the demonstration.
For more information on fire safety, visit the Township of Tiny Fire Department on the township website. Watch a video from the event here and see photos and videos of the burn below.