When building 308 was found not usable officials at the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority were faced with knocking it down. Then Col. Jim Gardner had an idea. Gardner, the Chief of MTAA's Police and Fire Dept., recommended that the Board of Directors allow them to use Building 308 for structure fire training. The Board approved the idea and training began Monday.
Officers who work for the MTAA are both police and fire officials. "We consume a lot of time with training. All the training is for one purpose and that is to get better at the job," said Gardner.
In 2006 the department acquired a new system for fighting fires. It's called the Compressed Air Foam System. The system has several advantages over fighting a fire with just water. "This gives us the advantage of being 5-7 times faster than water. It gives us more capability with less man power," said Pat Metzger, Captain of the MTAA Police and Fire Department.
The foam covers the area and smothers the fire. It lowers the temperature and draws heat out of the air. The foam can also improve visibility for the fire fighters according to Metzger.
Building 308 was lit on fire just after 10 a.m. on Monday. Once it burned for about 5 minutes fire fighters went in to battle the blaze. They used the compressed air foam and had the fire out in less than a half hour.
The officers said they were pleased with the results of both the fire fighters and the compressed air foam. "I'm very pleased," said Gardner. "It did exactly what it was supposed to do."
"It was a good experience," said officer Jerry Jackson.
The training for Shift A was done Monday. The rest of the shifts will train Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday Building 308 will finish being burned to the ground and clean up crews are scheduled to remove debris.