Greensboro firefighters hope to buy new equipment for burn training

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After learning Greensboro firefighters were scheduled to burn two houses along New Garden Road, Janet Mazzurco started planning.

Mazzurco is fighting stage four cancer and said a previous training nearby made it hard for her to breathe.

“I don’t want to go through that serious reaction again,” she said.

Mazzurco said she knows that firefighters need the valuable training, but was concerned about the location of the burn. When she contacted the fire department, she was surprised to learn that the training could not take place at the department's training facility on Church Street.

Chief Bobby Nugent told FOX8 that the training structure on site at the department was built in 1961 and can no longer be burned.

“It’s given us a lot of service through the years, it’s just too damaged to try and go in and actually have fires that will heat up the materials inside and cause more damage,” he said.

Nugent explained that the department uses the building to practice searches and other training exercises. He's hoping to purchase new structures, called Conex boxes, to be able to resume burning on site.

“It’s a system that’s kind of portable, we can change it around, we can make it different types of configurations of fires that we want to build,” he said.

The department is still finalizing their research, but the system could cost around $500,000. Nugent said it can be used for training for at least 15 years.

He said that live burns in the community are still valuable training to give firefighters valuable experience. Even with the new system, he said they'd like to continue the practice occasionally.

"We hope to still be able to do that sometimes. But not in areas where it’s going to impact any neighborhoods or anyone in the city,” he said.

The department hopes to purchase the new system by spring.

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