Lt. Linn Baxa during a drill at Wesleyan's Camden Apartments Friday.

This is definitely a drill: West Virginia firefighters practice blaze-battling tactics in Camden Avenue apartments

BUCKHANNON — Approximately 30 West Virginia firefighters — including 11 from Upshur County — attended a two-day training session Thursday and Friday, June 27-28, in the soon-to-be razed Camden Avenue Apartments.

West Virginia Wesleyan College plans to tear down buildings and turn the area into a green space in the near future. So, instructors from three states — including the Buckhannon Fire Department’s own Capt. Joey Baxa — took advantage of the opportunity to train.

A group photo of training attendees.

Baxa said Andy Starnes of Charlotte, North Carolina, owns the company, Insight Training, which headed up the two-day training, and that he, Thomas Anderson of North Carolina, and Jacob Latson of Michigan, served as instructors.

“The class was capped at 30 students from Buckhannon, Adrian, Wheeling, Bridgeport, Clarksburg, Belington, Charleston and Dunbar,” Baxa said. “Buckhannon had 11 students.”

Dummies were utilized as fire rescue victims during the two-day training.

Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble said Friday, firefighters were in the midst of practicing a drill called vent, enter, isolate and search.

Smoke rose out of a barrel that was filled with hay and lit on fire to simulate an atmosphere in which would be extremely difficult to see due to smoke and haze.

Lt. Linn Baxa holds a ladder for another firefighter during Friday’s vent, enter, isolate and search drill.
A firefighter rescues a ‘victim’ from Camden Avenue apartments during Friday’s training session.

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