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The Merced City Fire De­part­ment held a live fire train­ing ex­er­cise in Merced on Wed­nes­day. Fire­fight­ers used a city-owned build­ing in the 1800 block of Stretch Road to con­duct train­ing in “air track” or the move­ment of air by con­trol­ling ven­ti­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to Merced City Fire En­gi­neer Jeff Hakola. The train­ing al­lows fire­fight­ers to iso­late them­selves in dif­fer­ent rooms of the struc­ture to bet­ter un­der­stand how the fire is be­hav­ing and where the fire is lo­cated in the build­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Hakola, the Fire De­part­ment typ­i­cally holds one to two live fire train­ing ex­er­cises in struc­tures a year, de­pend­ing on avail­abil­ity. “Live fire train­ing is the ab­so­lute best train­ing we can pos­si­bly get,” said Hakola. “It’s the most re­al­is­tic. The smoke is real, the heat is real. Sim­u­lated smoke does OK but any time we can do live fire it’s just a ben­e­fit for ev­ery­body in the de­part­ment.” Above, fire­fight­ers pre­pare to en­ter the un­oc­cu­pied struc­ture dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s train­ing ex­er­cise.

AN­DREW KUHN [email protected]­ced­

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