Fire Investigation I class enables local firefighters to delve into the origins of arson

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A photo from a recent Firefighter 1 class in which a real fire was recreated / Photo courtesy of Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Fire Department and other area fire departments recently participated in an arson investigation class that recreated a real situation.

Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble said the class was hosted by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“We actually built a room and put furniture in it to look like a residential house and the fire marshal’s office goes in and sets an actual fire, and then the class determined where it started and how it started,” Kimble said.

Kimble said five people from the Buckhannon Fire Department attended the class, with 20 participants in total.

“It was a very good class,” Kimble said. “Everyone seemed very pleased and anxious to when the next class is going to happen.”

He said the next level of the class is likely to take place in the fall, and he plans to send the same people to continue their education.

“With us going through the process of accreditation, we have one of our career guys that has become a fire inspector, and then he’ll also become an arson investigator and work in conjunction with the city,” Kimble said.

The BFD is currently working towards earning agency accreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International or CFAI.

He said this person is already working with building code enforcement with the city and inspect new businesses.

“I am a strong believer that if you can’t determine the cause of a fire, it is your job to find someone who can determine it,” Kimble said.

Ellamore Volunteer Fire Chief Jamie Pugh said seven of its members participated in the class and also found it very beneficial.

“It was an interesting class,” he said. “It dealt with what to look for on fires for causes of them.”

Pugh said the class was sponsored by the Upshur County Firefighters Association.

The class was free, and Kimble said he hopes classes like these help strengthen the services of the Buckhannon Fire Department.