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Firefighters from Deerfield and Raymond attack a simulated propane tank fire at the Interstate Emergency Unit's fire mutual aid drill yard in Brentwood Sunday morning. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)


Deerfield, Raymond firefighters try out new equipment at Brentwood training yard

BRENTWOOD — A dozen firefighters braved frigid wind chills to battle flames in a propane tank and Dumpster during a demonstration Sunday to highlight new equipment donated by Rymes Propane & Oil.

Six firefighters from Deerfield and six from Raymond participated in the demonstration at the Interstate Emergency Unit's fire mutual aid drill yard behind the Rockingham County House of Corrections.

"This really builds trust in your gear," said Raymond Fire Chief Kevin Pratt, a member of the IEU's executive committee.

Rymes recently donated more than $13,000 in labor and materials to upgrade the 20-year-old propane props at the drill yard, which provides various firefighter training classes in several areas, including hazardous materials, trench rescue, and firefighter survival.

The upgrades included the installation of a new propane tank, new controls, new underground lines, and other equipment. The tank feeds propane to produce fires for different scenarios that firefighters may encounter.

"They feel that by (donating the equipment) it helps out fire departments when they come up to an emergency and how to attack it," said Deerfield Fire Chief Mark Tibbetts, president of the Interstate Emergency Unit.

Exeter Fire Lt. Bob Irish, training coordinator for the IEU, was also on hand for the demonstration, which featured teams of firefighters attacking flames as they engulfed a propane tank.

"You have to be on guard because it's a gas so it moves," Irish said.

Firefighters later battled a fire in a Dumpster that sat next to a van that is also used to simulate vehicle fires.Firefighters from 50 towns have trained at the drill yard since 1970. The fire brigade at the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant also trains there.

The upgrades are the latest at the facility that's used weekly from March to November and has provided more than a million hours of training since it opened, Tibbetts said.

In 2011, NextEra Energy Resources, the primary owner of Seabrook Station, donated $145,000 to construct a new cement burn building used for firefighter training.

Four years ago, the Manchester Fire Department also donated one of its engines to be used at the drill yard that has given firefighters an alternative to traveling to Concord for training.

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