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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Classroom Inferno

Classroom+Inferno
The flames ripped through the field within minutes because of all the dead grass. The trees were lucky and unharmed because of the moisture they retain during the winter months. Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
The flames ripped through the field within minutes because of all the dead grass. The trees were lucky and unharmed because of the moisture they retain during the winter months.
Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

By Jamil Oakford/editor-in-chief

Fire lab sparks memorable lessons

A field at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge was set ablaze, sending cactus shrapnel flying and leaving the smell of scorched earth in its wake.

NW Campus’ fire service training students participated in a field lab Jan. 16 in far northwest Fort Worth to give enrolled firefighters practical experience fighting brush fires without water.

Haltom City’s fire chief and leader of the field lab Fred Napp explained practical experience was key.

“You can talk about it all day in class, but until you get into a lab, that’s when they really learn,” Napp said.

This is the second year this class has run at the NW center, and it connects the firefighters with experienced teachers and the nature center as a state burn area.

A firefighter walks through the burning field to the next rendezvous point. Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
A firefighter walks through the burning field to the next rendezvous point.
Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

NW fire services coordinator James Craft said the closest available place to get this kind of training was in Bastrop near Austin before TCC started this class two years ago.

“When 65 percent that get deployed to fight state wildfires come from this region, it just made sense to have a class up here,” he said.

The 80 participating firefighters came from across North Texas and even out of state.

“Fire crews in Yellowstone are trained the exact same way,” Napp said.

The trainees were buzzed to finally be out in the field, free of nerves and feeling prepared.

Plano firefighter Dan Rogers said this wasn’t his first training from NW Campus.

“This is good training,” he said. “The instructors are pretty competent, so I feel confident that today will go well.”

Other trainees were just thankful to finally be out of the classroom and back in the field.

Azle firefighter Eddy Wood discussed his excitement as he stood by the burning and popping cacti patches.

“Better than death by PowerPoint,” he said.

Training continued through the weekend with daily briefings back at the center.


Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

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