Governments' Lighter Side

Fire hazard

Sometimes it's good to learn what not to do. Like throw gasoline on a fire…

On Oct. 25, firefighters training at Washington’s North Bend Academy pumped jet fuel onto an inferno they were attempting to extinguish.

The deliberately-set blaze was part of a exercise to train firefighters on dealing with an airplane crash, according to local TV news source King 5. No one was seriously hurt when the fireball erupted, but two firefighters were treated for minor burns.

Investigators think the problem may have been with a malfunctioning oil-water separator, which filters the recycled water firefighters use to extinguish the mock up from the fuel they use to set it ablaze. The Huffington Post reports similar equipment has been successfully implemented by other agencies.

"We’re having outside experts come look at the incident itself and our oil-water separator and see what we need to do to make this safe for everybody,” Bob Calkins, a representative for the State Patrol, told King 5. He added that investigators will test whether the piece of equipment simply malfunctioned, if it was operated incorrectly or some combination of both.

The Washington State Patrol is trying to work out exactly what went wrong, and that particular training exercise has been suspended until everything can be sorted out, Calkins told King 5.

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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