Albany Fire Dept. burns down local home

Home had been vacant for some time

The Albany Fire Department usually devotes its time to fighting fires. But today, they actually spent the morning setting fires.

The flames from this morning's exercise were so hot we had to change positions several times for protection. And when it was all over, the city of Albany had one less vacant home to worry about.

An inferno on South Jefferson was a creation of the Albany Fire Department as part of a large-scale training exercise.

Arson Investigator Sam Harris says the program will also eliminate an attractive nuisance. "This structure was a dilapidated structure that was being used by homeless people and drug users," said Harris.

The program began on a calmer note with a series of controlled burns. "We've got a couple of our dummies set up in a couple of bedrooms here," said Fire Inspector Tom Wilson. "We're going to simulate a kitchen fire, show the effects of smoke. We've installed some smoke detectors."

FOX 31's cameras weren't the only ones on the scene.

"We're using the video for two purposes," said Harris. "One, to train fire investigators on what to look for in different fire settings. The other thing we're doing is we are creating a program for the elderly and we're showing how the smoke travels in a home to help them understand how they should get out of the structure. When they get in a situation like that, they know to crawl down on the floor to stay below the smoke."

Firefighters say the high winds fueled the flames even more. They estimate the home burned to the ground in about 30 minutes.

"The carbon monoxide that is put off the fire and the smoke is the problem," said Harris. "That's what most people die of in fires."

You can check out this guide to fire safety for more information.