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Posted on Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

Firefighters burn barn as part of training exercise south of Ann Arbor

By Kyle Feldscher


Firefighters burned this barn as part of a training exercise in Pittsfield Township Thursday.

Kyle Feldscher |

Update: Firefighters: Training on nearly out-of-control barn fire 'extremely valuable' (with photo gallery and video)

Black smoke billowed into the sky Thursday morning as firefighters conducted a training exercise south of Ann Arbor.

The firefighters burned a barn and trained with fire in an open field in the 6700 block of Warner Road in Pittsfield Township. The exercise was expected to run until 2 p.m. Thursday.

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Fri, May 10, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

They should look for barns closer to Ypsilanti

Boo Radley

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Those concerned about the hazards to the environment with this training burn have their concerns a bit misplaced. Fire departments sometimes do training burns on derelict houses. The benefit and ecologically sound advantage of using a barn is that the barn does not have all of the materials that give off toxic substances that a house does. Other than shingles, barns do not have insulation, flooring material, plastics and vinyl and often not even electrical wiring, to name just a few.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

One has to wonder if the Pittsfield Township Fire Dept. has any appreciation for the environment with its training exercise that intentionally destroyed a 100 year old barn in the township. Most likely, vast amounts of hydrocarbons and particulate matter were released in the the inferno, with who knows what else. For example, in days gone by, pesticides carried highly toxic lead and mercury compounds that may have been present with others within the immediate confines of the barn from years' of storage and spills. The work of area fire departments is much appreciated. However, give some thought to what is being released into the air from these training events.

Boo Radley

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

It seems like the Pittsfield Twp. fire department has an appreciation for keeping it's firefighters alive and safe by giving them the kind of training that can only be achieved by fighting a real fire. The barn had already been ruined by a fire. This was an entirely appropriate action to take with it.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Better buy some plastic & duct tape. Then wrap your whole house up & whatever you do don't go outside!!!

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Here's a post with video and a photo gallery from this training earlier today.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

I believe they also did a missing firefighter exercise as part of this exercise. In light of yesterday's incident in Westland, this was invaluable to those that rush in. Keep up the good work guys

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

I've been working on a video, so sorry for not jumping in earlier. This barn was actually partially burned down already - two teenagers were charged with arson for a fire there. Here's the link: I'm not sure what kind of material the roof was.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 6 p.m.

Oof, that's sad. That looked like a mighty fine barn, you can be sure those ancient hardwood timbers could have been preserved and re-used for centuries to come. Look at how straight that roof still was. What a waste. I understand firefighters need training, but surely a derelict and decrepit house somewhere could have been substituted for this fine barn.

social conscience

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Not only was a recycling effort lost (100 year old beams), but the "Black smoke billowed into the sky" certainly doesn't mitigate the effects of climate change. The fire department has a local training facility so I wonder what valuable training was gained with this inferno? (I do have a lot of respect for our firefighters and do want them to have the best training available, just questioning fire management's choice of venues.)

Steve Bean

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

And actually, social conscience, black particulates do mitigate solar gain (if not the *effects* of climate change). See my comment above for an example of how something positive might come of this. Can you think of others?

Steve Bean

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

I suspect that the black smoke was from the asphalt shingles (which it appears are on the roof in areas not in flames). Anyone know otherwise? Can you find out, Kyle? I suppose that's part of the realistic training scenario, but unfortunate that the worst of the pollution couldn't have been avoided. Maybe a video of a similar fire could be used in marketing metal roofs.

Brad PTA

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

While I agree with your comments about the smoke and the loss of recoverable materials there is a HUGE difference in training with the real thing vs. a training facility. When working with the real deal there is the constant uncontrolled threat that is not available in an artificial training facility fire. These training burns are a very important part of firefighter training

Dirty Mouth

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Burn your history America!


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

Instead of just tearing it down the owner let it be used in a valuable training exercise.