Jefferson City fire and emergency personnel gather the water hose before they put out simulated airplane fire on Saturday, April 6, 2019, at Jefferson City Memorial Airport. Using a simulator that resembles an airplane, crews of three were able to practice putting out the fires throughout the day.
Photo by Jenna Kieser | ​News Tribune.

Jefferson City and other Mid-Missouri fire and emergency personnel practiced how to deal with airplane fires Saturday.

Using a simulator that resembles a small aircraft, different fire scenarios were practiced at the Jefferson City Memorial Airport.

“The simulator allows trainers to ignite controlled burns in different portions of the plane — the cockpit, tires, engines, wings and passenger compartment,” Cole County Emergency Management Director Bill Farr said. “They’ll also train on how to be able to rescue individuals from a burning plane.”

Farr said fighting a fire on an airplane is very different from fighting a house fire.

“You are dealing with highly combustible fuel, and there are specific techniques that have to be used to put that type of fire out,” Farr said. “You also have a lot of plastics used in the construction of the plane that, if they catch on fire, (it) wouldn’t take long to spread.”

The firefighters and emergency personnel did classroom training Friday at the Cole County Sheriff’s Department, led by instructors from the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

“We hadn’t had the simulator here in Jefferson City since the training school last held their summer fire school here in town a few years ago,” Farr said. “With the Salute to America Air Show scheduled to be held at the airport on Memorial Day weekend, (Jefferson City Fire) Chief Matt Schofield felt this type of training would be good to have, so his department and the county emergency management office teamed up to get the funds to bring it here. It’s the same type of training that bigger airports have to have every year.”

There were 41 people in the two-day training representing the Jefferson City fire and police departments, Cole County Sheriff’s Department, Cole County Emergency Medical Services, and the Linn, Osage and Regional West Fire Protection Districts.

​By Jeff Haldiman | News Tribune​