AIRCRAFT FIRE FIGHTING

 

 

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When I was a young man, of five years, I thought I was on top of the world to observe the world of aviation. I lived next door to the Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City. For a person of that stature and the airport not having the security measures we now have, that meant being able to visit the airport when I wanted. During the two years living there I made many friends at the base. Among them, airport firemen.

Many times, I had the great excitement of being able to watch the Firemen put out a fire in a huge tank full of oil and fuel. The tank looked like a big round metal swimming pool. As I watched, several fire fighters would maneuver a long large hose with a long pipe attached to it and at the end of the pipe was a round nozzle. With their silver over-clothes and hood on, they would place the nozzle over the center of the tank as best they could as water would be spraying in a circular pattern. As they brought the nozzle down closer to the flames the fire would go out.

I asked one of the firemen how that put the fire out and he told me that as they cover the flames with the water umbrella the water smothered the fire and because they use heavy water, it also took away the heat of the fire. I asked him what heavy water was and he told me that it was water that soaked into things better. If you put a duck in a pool of heavy water, he said, it would sink because the water would soak all the feathers of the duck. I didn't understand everything that he said at the time but I sure remember what he told me. Even now, being the age of 53. I remember it like it was this morning.

Throughout my life, as I would pass by that spot I would see that big black tank and remember those days and wish that I could see the firemen training to put out airplane fires again. One time I passed there and the tank was no longer there. Inside, I hurt because I knew that dream was taken out of my life. Many years later as I passed the airport I notice that a new training facility had been built for fire fighter training. My dream came back and I looked forward to the day when I could watch them train again.

Last year I was able to get that chance and also be given the opportunity to photograph the training session. The pictures that are presented to you now are, what I think, the best of what I took and also pictures that I hope you would find interesting. If you will come with me I will take you to what I have learned of the

ARFF Training Center.
Salt Lake City, Utah

 

 

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