In Pennsylvania’s Jackson Township, Monroe County Monday night, a 16-year-old junior firefighter with the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company received first, second and third degree burns during a training exercise. Reporter Laurie Monteforte with WBRE-TV, WYOU-TV reports the teenager is in critical condition after a brush pile was doused with gasoline and set on fire.
According to Monteforte, there are investigations underway by the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and the Jackson Township Fire Company.
The training took place on Mountain Spring Drive and was supposed to teach newer members about nozzles and other equipment.
It was supposed to be a controlled burn but things quickly got out of control. Someone used a 2.5 gallon can of gas to start the fire. Chief Wolcott said,”They were gonna use a little bit of gas and it was just a little too much gas.”
The chief said there was a big flash. He also said the young man apparently did not have his fire suit jacket closed properly. He suffered burns on his arm, neck, and shoulder. Wolcott added,”Myself and the Assistant Chief were not on the scene. We had a younger junior officer underneath us who was doing the controlled burn with them.
State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann was disappointed to hear about the incident. He told Eyewitness News certified instructors are supposed to oversee junior trainees during burns. Mann said since gas was used it is unlikely that an officially trained officer was there. He said someone with the proper training would have made sure the boy was suited up properly and would not have allowed anyone to use gas. He noted, “Gas is just absolutely too volatile to be used as an accelerant with anything. Do not use it period. I do not care the amount.”
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