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Firefighters practice on house, formerly a parsonage, owned by Free Methodist Church.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - More than two dozen volunteers, along with two staff firefighters for the Jefferson County Fire District, pose beside a house being used as a 'burn to learn' building. The firefighters practiced their skills on the house, which belongs to the Madras Free Methodist Church, for several hours on Saturday, Oct. 27, before finally letting it go up in flames. The church plans to extend its parking in that area.A house that was built in the 1960s and owned by the Madras Free Methodist Church was intentionally burned Oct. 27, by the Jefferson County Fire Department.

Two staff members and 26 volunteers turned out to participate in the "burn-to-learn" event at 914 South Adams Drive, according to Capt. Kasey Skaar, of the fire department.

"Everything went really well," said Skaar. "With the amount of people we had there, it was a great opportunity for our folks to train."

"Our crews got to experience fire behavior and rotate through different groups to get hands-on training for all aspects of a fire scene," he explained. "Flames in the burn rooms are created with clean wood pallets, topped with a few flakes of hay. Crews got to see the fire build from incipient stage to free burning before extinguishing the fire."

"These trainings give our firefighters a great experience to know what it's like to be in fire during an emergency, and how to fight it," said Skaar.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Once firefighters were finished practicing on a 'burn to learn' house on South Adams Drive, the house was quickly engulfed in flames.According to Pastor Rick Russell, of the Madras Free Methodist Church, the house had been used over the years for pastoral housing, youth pastors, a food ministry and storage.

"It fell into disrepair between five and 10 years ago," he said. "We realized there were a number of issues, and it just didn't make sense to put money into the house because it was in such disrepair."

"So, we started talking with the fire department last spring to see if they were interested," said Russell, adding that the department expressed interest in a burn-to-learn event, which was organized and held over a seven-hour period on Saturday.

On Monday, Russell said, "It's in the process of being cleared and we will turn it into expansion parking for us; the church has been growing and we needed to get rid of the structure."

Skaar thanked Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services for standing by during the burn and helping with "rehab," and the city of Madras for assisting with the road closure.

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