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Wausau and ATF conduct training burns on west side this morning


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - Wausau fire crews along with the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be performing four training burns on Wausau's west side today.

The city has acquired the four apartments from the county on tax liens, and will be using the unique opportunity to burn four similar buildings to test out new fire fighting techniques. Fire marshal Dave Desantis says the ATF and the city are learning more about a new fire fighting technique called positive pressure attack. "You set up a fan at the front of the building, and pressurize the structure to vent out the smoke and the hot gases." The department is already using the method to help fight fires.

Desantis says the method is safer because it allows better access to the building. "It can increase the fire, but it also dramatically clears the building out so we can get to extinguishment." Crews will be setting similar fires in each of the apartment buildings and then breaking out different ventilation points in order to see what works best. The ATF Arson crews will analyse the data to help fight fires across the country.

The training burns will start this morning at 8am on the 1400 block of North 12th Avenue, and Desantis says crews will be on hand all day. "We'll have the roads blocked off, and once the ATF is done, we'll be doing some more training for our rookie fire crews."

Training is expected to run through this afternoon.