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      Cole Co. trains next generation of firefighters

      Seven firefighter trainees in Cole County are one step closer to becoming full-fledged volunteer firefighters.

      Saturday's Basic Firefighter class gave trainees a chance to test out their basic firefighting skills and run through scenarios at a state-of-the-art training facility in Jefferson City.

      Firefighters used smoldering hay to simulate smoky conditions inside the building, which comes equipped with rooms that simulate a typical living room inside a home, staircases, and rooftops.

      Training Officer Alan Braun said it takes a special breed of person to become a firefighter. "It's an adrenaline junkie's dream right here," Braun said. "As they always say about firefighting, these are the guys who are running into the building that's on fire while everyone else is running out."

      Saturday morning, firefighter trainees simulated search and rescue missions, rescuing a downed firefighter, evacuating a building, and ventilating a rooftop amongst other activities.

      Probationary Firefighter Kyle Cardwell described the experience of running into a burning building. "There could be a million different things running through your mind," Cardwell said.

      "Is the floor going to give? Is the ceiling going to collapse in the next room? Is there fire in the next room? Is there a person right down the hallway that you've got to find? There are just a million things running through your mind of scenarios that could happen."

      Braun said the training exercises also give the men and women a chance to get to know each other and become aquainted with the people who they'll be working with.

      After Saturday's class, firefighter trainees will continue their training by accompanying certified volunteer firefighters on calls around Cole County.