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Fire recruits train on aging structure

New recruits gearing up for a career with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department used chainsaws and weeks of training to carve open a structure as part of a simulated house fire.

The eight trainees worked in teams of two. They are completing weeks of training.

“You can teach a lot in the classroom but you can teach just as much or more out in the field,” said Santa Barbara City Fire Inspector Ryan DiGuilio.

Safety was stressed throughout the drill. “You always want to have an additional firefighter holding on in case something were to go wrong,” said DiGuilio.

Property owner Tom Sanborn was invited to climb a ladder and see the operation up close. “These guys have a lot of coordination, and a lot of very specific routines they have to follow to get through a roof like that,” he said.

This was a daytime drill, but Sanborn said, “in the middle of the night, not knowing where a fire is going to poke through, it’s remarkable.”

He says the structure they were cutting open was going to be torn down as part of a property renovation he is undertaking. The building is about 80 years old.

The new recruits are expected to finish their training this month.

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