Colbert County Recruits Get Schooled in House Fire

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Fighting fires is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. But those training for it, they say it's also one of the most rewarding.

Over the last nine weeks, men have been training to become fire fighters in Colbert County.

The cadets put all their training to use on Monday.

One by one, fire academy cadets entered a home on Walker Camp Road in Colbert County, training on an actual house fire.

After weeks of classroom sessions and controlled fire situations, rookie fire fighters were ready for the real thing.

"It's vital and almost a necessity that we have a house or a structure to burn like this," said John James, an Instructor for the Alabama Fire College.

In the classroom, instructors teach the recruits about the aspects of fire, the behavior of fire and the different phases of a blaze.

And according to James, nothing quite prepares them for this.

“It opens their eyes a little bit. What they thought was the worse they would ever get, it got even worse here today," said James. "So, it’s a realistic tool for them."

A group of 12 makes up the second class of recruits going through the Muscle Shoals Fire Academy.

Of those, eight fire fighters are from the Florence Fire Department.

John James says this type of school in northwest Alabama is much more cost-effective for departments. The big savings comes in room and board.

"The fact that these men get to go home at night helps out with their family life and two, it doesn't keep them away. And for the cost for them and their departments is a lot less," James said.

Two of the cadets in the class of 12 are actually paying their own way through the academy. Once they graduate, they will be able to apply for fire fighter jobs across the state.

The cadets of the Muscle Shoals Fire Academy are set to graduate on Friday, and will join their respective departments next week.