By Ron Dewey

ROMULUS (WWJ) – Firefighters are being put to the test this week at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus.

WWJ Newradio 950’s Ron Dewey got a front row seat for a drill simulating a fire aboard an airliner on the tarmac Tuesday morning.

Metro Airport’s giant fire trucks put out a controlled burn using a mock-up of a jetliner.  The plane was sitting in the middle of what is likened to a giant propane barbeque grill – with the ability to shoot flames as high as 60 feet.

“Some of the things that can happen to an airliner we can replicate here.” said Metro Airport Fire Chief Craig Carnell.  “Our staff has an opportunity to train and practice on extinguishing or responding correctly to those kinds of (situations).”

Carnell said they spend more time training with their equipment than using it on an actual basis, which is not a bad thing.

“We’re somewhere in the neighborhood of probably 20 percent of our overall calls are relative to aviation related incidents,” said Carnell.  “And that’s not just aircraft.  It could be the ground service equipment on the tarmac.  It could be fuelers or something of that nature.”

Tuesday’s exercise is part of a larger drill involving agencies outside the airport practicing their response to multiple casualties.  Carnell said simulations are needed for the airport’s re-certification.


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