Controlled burn near airport helps firefighters prepare for the real thing

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis firefighters set fire to a plane just south of Memphis International Airport early Monday afternoon as part of a training exercise.

The mock fire drill was designed to prepare firefighters for the possibility of a real airplane crash happening.

"The scenario here is a passenger aircraft that has crashed on landing. It is on fire and the fuel from that plane is scattered on the ground and is on fire," Division Chief Kenneth Reeves said.

Adding to the mock drama were three mannequins, dressed to look like pilots trapped under the burning wreckage.

As paramedics rushed to help, firefighters unloaded thousands of gallons of water and foam on the burning plane.  Meanwhile, officials at a nearby command center monitored every move as technicians used special equipment to simulate raging flames and chocking smoke.

Firefighters train like this every year in order to keep up with FAA standards. They said the key is teamwork, speed, and coordination.

Officials said in the past 10 years, there have been two real crashes at Memphis International Airport, and training sessions like those conducted Monday help firefighters respond quickly and successfully.

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