SCC fire academy students fight liquid propane gas tank fire in training

Southeastern Community College’s fire academy participated in a liquid propane tank burn training exercise on the former Acme-Delco Middle School football field on Feb. 24. Firefighters from 10 fire stations participated in the training, and they held a classroom session on gas tank fires at the Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Fire-Rescue station the night before. The event was in partnership with Fire Training Concepts of Lumberton, which provided propane gas and tank props for the training.  

SCC Fire Director and Coordinator Brian Nelson said the purpose of the training was to give firefighters experience with extinguishing fires associated with residential gas tanks. He said the training emphasized teamwork with controlling the hose nozzles and water flow patterns when approaching the tanks.  

“This gives them an opportunity, if faced with a residential tank fire, to control it and turn it off,” Nelson said. “They also learned that if the fire is not endangering a nearby structure, it’s better off letting the tank burn because there’s more danger in the gas being released.” 

Of the 46 firefighters participating in the training exercise, 15 were current SCC fire academy students who work for stations in Columbus County. The training exercise burned 556 gallons of propane of the 600 gallons provided.  

Nelson explained that ADR Fire-Rescue Chief Steve Camlin first approached him about setting up the training class. Camlin obtained permission to use the old football field as the training site.  

Nelson’s favorite part of the burning training was “seeing all the students enjoy themselves.” 

“It’s more about hands-on training, but you have to get the education part of it too,” Nelson said. “They’re learning the ‘why’ and ‘how you do it this way’ type of thing. They’re learning about the elements of gas and its properties.” 

Nelson said his fire academy students participated in the burn training because it satisfied the fire academy’s curriculum standard of fighting a gas fire. Nelson said that holding a gas burn and structure burn training on separate days is better for the firefighters in terms of their health and time dedicated to training.  

“This is showing where the county departments are coming together to help protect, save lives and save property,” Nelson said.  

See more photos here