LINCOLN, Maine — Firefighters from 10 towns will battle a fire next month as part of the second large-scale training exercise town leaders will hold this year, officials said Tuesday.
Burlington, East Millinocket, Howland, Lee, Lowell, Mattawamkeag, Medway, Passadumkeag and Springfield firefighters have been invited to join Lincoln firefighters on Sept. 6 as they destroy a house donated to their efforts on Curtis Farm Road, said Dan Summers, Lincoln’s public safety director.
“I can easily see us getting 60 firefighters there and I don’t really think that would be an optimistic number,” said Lincoln firefighter Corey Stratton, the department’s training officer.
The benefit of the training, Summers said, is its sheer versatility. Thanks to the good condition of the house, firefighters can practice virtually any maneuver they might be required to perform on a fire scene, in safety.
“Often times they get houses donated to them but they are too risky to use,” Summers said. “They are too close to other structures or they are not in good enough condition to burn safely. It has to be safe to use.”
The training day follows the largest disaster drill in Lincoln in at least 15 years on May 4 with a scenario that depicted two drag-racing vehicles at a train crossing slamming into Pan Am Railways freight cars carrying sodium hydroxide, officials said.
The scenario involved the “injury” of nine people and the death of two, the involvement of a half-dozen local fire departments and a chemical decontamination unit from Orono. Officials counted 75 participants at the “train wreck” on Depot Street and 60 emergency service responders and volunteers at Penobscot Valley Hospital of Lincoln.
Drill planning by Lincoln firefighters and Penobscot Valley Hospital Drs. David Shannon, David Dumont and the Penobscot Valley Hospital Safety Committee was so nuanced that two drill volunteers, 23-year-old Jacob Madden of Howland and 53-year-old Susan Brown of East Millinocket, wore heavy burn makeup.
Madden and Brown played workers at Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC who witnessed the accident at Depot Street and were sprayed with the deadly chemical when they tried to help pull the victims from their vehicles, they said.
Stratton and Summers said they saw nothing so elaborate happening on Sept. 6, but they did see a wide variety of potential training exercises occurring. Any firefighter or department wishing to participate in the training day can contact Lincoln firefighters at 794-8455.