When a house is on fire in a small town, people notice. But the few people who contacted Crookston Daily Times staff Saturday with word that a house was burning near the Broadway Apartments shared a similar opinion: It didn't seem as though all the firefighters on the scene were that interested in extinguishing it in rapid fashion.
That's because they weren't. The house at the corner of Sunny Street and Sixth Avenue North filled an educational purpose when it was set on fire and eventually burned to the ground Saturday. Rookie firefighters from Crookston and firefighters-in-training at Moorhead Technical College spent hours learning how to extinguish simple "level 1" fires and more substantial "level 2" fires, Crookston Fire Department Capt. Bob Magsam told the Times at the scene.
"Level 1, you light something and they pretty much put it out right away," he explained. "Level 2, you let it burn a bit and get going and then they put it out."
It's one thing to be taught about putting out fires and to study the profession, Magsam said, but "firefighters have to learn how to put out fires."
Enter Duane Stinar's old house at 1301 Sunny Street. Purchased by Robin Steinbrink and his sons recently, CFD Chief Tim Froeber said the Steinbrinks wanted the structure removed. Steinbrink, being a Crookston firefighter, saw an opportunity and the wheels were put in motion on Saturday's controlled training burn.
When everyone had learned a thing or two about firefighting, it was time to light it up and watch. Straw bales and other items that would assure the house would be blazing in short order had been placed in the house before the burn, Magsam said. "She's dry, she'll go quick," he said.