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PHOTO GALLERY: Firefighter training day in Van Buren Township

Smoke billowed into the air on Keith Donaldson Road Saturday, April 23, as firefighters from Brown and nearby counties trained with live fire in a single-story home there. Several rounds of one- or two-room blazes gave firefighters new and an opportunity to develop and brush up on skills in various situations.

At the end of the day, the entire house went down in flames.

Shortly after purchasing it, property owner Brian Crase donated the former rental home to Van Buren Township Volunteer Fire Department. The act served a dual purpose: It gave local firefighters an opportunity for valuable training, and it helped Crase destroy the home. Crase, who also owns the neighboring property, plans to leave the area as green space.

Firefighters trained in the building for months while also preparing it for Saturday's burn.

VBTVFD Chief John Ward headed up activities there. As the house crackled through its last hurrah, he sent out thanks to the day's instructors and participants, including White River Township FD's Corey McGaha, Chris Kindred and Ryan Cox, who helped run Saturday's events, and firefighters from Hamblen, Nineveh, Van Buren, Jackson and northern Monroe County.

Ward also offered thanks to Crase, the lake association there, and Brad Chittum, who spent the day operating Hamblen's TurboDraft -- a machine that draws water from lakes and ponds, serving as a portable fire hydrant.

"Everybody trained, everybody worked hard, everybody come out safe, everybody's going home," added Ward. "That's what's important."

Staff photos by Megan O'Bryan

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Obituaries
See Full List »

William Emmett Fisher, 73, Elizabethtown
  Father of William “Mark” (Marissa) Fisher of Nashville

Margaret (Stanley) Whitaker, 80, Morgantown
  Wife of Rawlins Whitaker of Morgantown

Ival 'Max' Skinner, 85, White Springs, Florida,
  Brown County native

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