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Old Whidbey farmhouse goes up in flames for firefighter training

Firefighters with North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and the Oak Harbor Fire Department tackle a training fire at an old farmhouse on North Whidbey Saturday. - Photo courtesy of North Whidbey Fire and Rescue
Firefighters with North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and the Oak Harbor Fire Department tackle a training fire at an old farmhouse on North Whidbey Saturday.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of North Whidbey Fire and Rescue

North Whidbey residents may have seen a house burning in a rural area just north of Oak Harbor Saturday.

North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and the Oak Harbor Fire Department conducted a training burn on an old farmhouse on the Northwest corner of East Sleeper and North Taylor roads.

The exercise began at 7 a.m. and ran to about 4 p.m.

Fire Chief Marv Koorn said the district tries to do two or three training burns a year because they provide vital experience for beginning and veteran firefighters alike.

“You can’t get any better training than a live fire at an actual house,” Koorn said.

“Best training you can get,” he said.

While the entire exercise lasted most of the day, initial burns were smaller in scale and conducted largely for new recruits who were working on their basic firefighter certifications.

Later burns, were geared for active firefighters, providing them an opportunity to  sharpen their skills on a real house fire.

Koorn said the home was an old farmhouse. He didn’t know the exact age but guessed it had been built sometime in the 1930s or 1940s. The fire district worked with the property owner for the past six months, preparing for the burn.

 

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