LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Firefighter training is underway in Lafayette and it’s getting heated. News 18 took you through basic skills training back in August and now the class is adding a blazing fire to the mix.
Family and friends of the trainees watched as their loved ones battled their first fire.
“You’ve got to be focused, know what you’re doing, communication is key,” student Cody Miller said after going through the first round of live fire training.
Seven different groups all had separate tasks. There’s a primary and secondary attack, rapid intervention team, emergency medical services, incident command and a ventilation team.
Miller was on the primary attack team first.
“I was on the nozzle,” he said.
That team’s job is to get the first hose line in the building.
But everyone shares a common goal.
“Put the fire out,” said Miller.
“Save lives,” student Skylar Reed said.
Trainees practiced on controlled fires and dummies, which was a relief to News 18’s Kayla Sullivan who went inside the burning building with the trainees.
“I didn’t have to be rescued out of there so that was good,” Sullivan said.
Inside, Sullivan heard someone’s oxygen tank alarm ringing, meaning they ran out of air and they needed to get out immediately.
“Not going to lie, I was kind of scared in there,” Sullivan said. “The scariest part was not knowing if my oxygen mask was going to work.”
But Sullivan was only watching, you use up a lot more oxygen when you’re physically battling a blaze.
“What was the most challenging part?” Sullivan asked.
“I would say the hose drag,” responded Skylar Reed. “Trying to drag the charged line around those corners, and up the stairs, and everything. It’s pretty tough.”
Reed’s parents witnessed from outside.
“Very scary,” said Tracy Reed, Skylar’s mother. “But he’s growing up to be a man. He’s following his dreams so I’m proud to watch him do it.”
The sight made Miller’s girlfriend a little nervous, but Miller was happy she was there along with some family members.
“Puts a smile on my face,” said Miller. “I’m glad they are supporting me. I know it’s kind of a hard job to support someone cause it’s dangerous.”
“As long as he comes home after,” said Millers’ girlfriend, Courtney Etchison.
Tracy Reed is used to that nervous feeling.
“My husband is a firefighter,” Tracy Reed said. “He’s a combat firefighter in Iraq.”
Watching her son risk his life too isn’t easy, but there’s one thing that makes it all worth it.
“Seeing the happiness in his eyes,” she added.
“Even though it makes me nervous, it’s what he loves to do,” said Etchison. “I’m excited for him.”
This fall class is about a month out from graduation.
In the coming weeks, they’ll be conducting final presentations, taking a written test, and participating in a stair climb in Chicago for charity.
If you’d like to donate to the cause, click here.