Live fire exercise 8.11.2014

This has been a peculiar year as we’ve had the opportunity to have two live fire exercises followed by controlled burns of the buildings once we are done exercising. The house this time was a traditional post-war single family home that often has livable areas in the basement and top floor but they could be initially left unfinished.

firefighters and hoselines

We only used the ground floor during our exercise since the second floor was much too open to burn in a controlled fashion. The basement was left untouched due to safety concerns.

Door covered in soot from the fire

firegfighters entering smoky room

I also had a GoPro attached to my helmet, but our first attack (in which I was participating and not photographing) was so hot that my helmet and the GoPro housing took quite a bit of damage. The fact that it was so hot also meant that I got about five seconds of usable footage before the world went dark from smoke. If nothing else, that footage can serve as an excellent example of what the reality of entering a burning building is like when compared to what is seen in movies and TV.

firefighters entering a smoky room

flames in a burning building

Flames from a house fire during a controlled burn

After the fire has been put out

Springs in a mattress after the fire has been put out. Although I have always known how dangerous most mattresses are in fires, watching a mattress burn from the time it was lit until it was engulfed in flames reminded me how dangerous they really are. A picture of the mattress in flames as well as other pictures from our live fire exercise coming tomorrow.

Flames and firefighters – a preview

Cross of fire

More to come shortly…

Burning down a house – a timelapse

Flames inside a burning house

Last weekend at we had a chance to burn down an old cottage that was to be demolished. We try to get at least one exercise like this each year, if only possible as the chance to exercise with live fire is always beneficial. And for the umpteenth time, I also had my camera along to document the exercise and fire. This time I also brought along my GoPro to shoot a timelapse of it all.

I started shooting the timelapse from the lake side where we would be entering the cottage from to put it out and relight it. In the timelapse about half of the footage was shot from this side during the time when we went in and put out the fire to practice that aspect of our work. We started out in the right hand side of the building, then later moved to do a couple of runs in the left hand side while the right side was already burning quite strongly.

Once we stopped practicing and proceeded to burn down the cottage in a controlled fashion, the camera was moved to be next to one of our fire trucks. My unit left the scene was the controlled burn was nearing the final stages, so the timelapse doesn’t continue to the complete end. You can see the video below:

Yours truly can be spotted in several frames as the firefighter with a beard and possibly carrying a DSLR. I shot several photographs inside the cottage while it was burning and outside during the controlled burn. I will be processing the images shortly and publishing them as well. While waiting for them, you can always go and see pictures from older live fire exercises in our gallery.


Almost three weeks ago we spread oil spill containment beams in the water around a plane crash site from WWII. The Finnish army is currently excavating the site so that the bombs that were in the bomber are located and destroyed. After that day, we’ve spent a couple of evenings adding beams and making minor adjustments to it all. We’ve also got some good exercise in working with the beams in the dark. Luckily the strong winds and rain that we had during the day calmed down for the evening and we had another calm night to work on the beams (although the shot is from a week ago).

So far no explosive ordinance has been found, but the work still continues. The crash site is located inside the beams in the picture, near the center where three small buoys can be seen. The Helsingin Sanomat has an article about the operation in English.

Update (3.10.2008 11:00): The first bomb has been found. Which explains why our movements were very limited last night in the area.