In the firefighting world, you look for opportunities to sharpen your skills, outside of the real deal.
So, when local crews got the chance to train on a massive scale, they jumped at the opportunity.
Firefighters rarely get requests to start fires.
"In fact, they're happy we do it," said Cliff McFarland, an organizer of this mass drill.
The end has come for this old obsolete grain elevator.
"With the size of farm equipment today, it just didn't provide a lot of value any more," said Troy Ubah, CEO of Ag Partners.
But the experience was invaluable to the 25 volunteer fire departments from seven Siouxland counties that took part in the training exercise. They ignited the 60 year old silo, with a simple game plan.
"We want to burn the head house out and then we put the fire out below, so the fire burns slowly and burns downward," said Scott Kuester, the water supply coordinator.
"Keep the tin cool, so it burns on the inside instead of just falling off," said Denny Launderville, Alta's fire chief.
They need a lot of water to fight a fire like this, more than 350,000 gallons, in fact. So, crews will head out of town to a pond like this to replenish their trucks two at a time before heading back in.
"I think we have 14 tankers running around here now, so we have to coordinate them, so that they don't run into each other," said Kuester.
Trucks run back and forth to keep the walls wet .
"That was to make that wall stand longer and another wall burn out and we try to get it to drop in right where we wanted it to," said McFarland.
All the while, the team works together to avoid the train tracks and nearby structures and keep the fire under control.
"We almost had to make it drop in the middle, straight down," said McFarland.
About an hour and a half in, the structure did what it was supposed to, collapsing on itself.
Each fire department sent a small crew out to this drill, so there were still plenty of people left to handle emergencies.
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