An abandoned church, given to train, goes up in flames

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- In a fire, minutes matter and training can be the difference between life and death. Huntsville firefighters had a chance to hone their skills in a practice with a purpose.

In this old Episcopal Church on Taylor Road, a place once used to save people from flames, today went up in flames. The abandoned building was donated.

“So we can do a live fire training exercise. Our guys in order to keep their skills current and honed, anytime we can get a structure like this, we can come in, we’ll set fires in the building and let them go in and practice putting them out,” said Tim Barnack, District Chief of Training.

“It’s very important, gives us a lot of training we can’t get any other way,” said William Moon, firefighter.

Even though today’s fire is a controlled burn, these guys know the next one may not be.

“Some of these guys their fairly new in the department, they haven’t had the years’ experience that some others have had, it’s very important for them,” said Barnack.

“It’s hands on, it’s as real as it can get!” Moon said.

Chief Barnack says the number of fires is actually down, another reason the training is important to keep the guys in practice.