Firefighters train to deal with runway fires at KCI - KCTV5

Firefighters train to deal with runway fires at KCI

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The fire department stays prepared to handle challenges like flaming jet fuel and a runway covered in obstacles. (Nathan Vickers/KCTV) The fire department stays prepared to handle challenges like flaming jet fuel and a runway covered in obstacles. (Nathan Vickers/KCTV)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Runway fires almost never happen, but a passenger plane covered in flames could potentially harm the hundreds of people on board. So, firefighters train every year to put out such a fire in seconds to save lives.

It's a maneuver that takes less than a minute, but it has to be flawless.

Battalion Chief Matt Mauer trains the Kansas City firefighters who respond to fires at KCI. He said they are “just trying to maintain and polish what we consider a perishable skill.”

It's been more than 20 years since a plane crashed at the airport, but the fire department stays prepared to handle challenges like flaming jet fuel and a runway covered in obstacles.

They use special trucks with cranes that can punch through a fuselage to spray inside the plane and the firefighters also have to practice rescuing scared passengers.

“People are in an aluminum tube that fell out of the sky,” Mauer said. “Yeah, there's some challenges.”

The plane used in training will be set ablaze again and again, Mauer said, until they run out of propane. It's all to save lives in the event of a catastrophe. “It's vital,” he said. “You got to do it to get good.”

The fire department will stay out all weekend running drills and they'll spend another few days training on airport emergencies in October.

During these training sessions, you may see smoke coming from KCI if you're in the area. Now you know why. 

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