Flames erupt at Chevron Pascagoula Refinery for a drill - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Flames erupt at Chevron Pascagoula Refinery for a drill

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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

Flames and black smoke were shooting from the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery Saturday afternoon, luckily it was only a drill.

Around 40 firefighters, mostly volunteer firefighters, suited up for the day in order to better prepare themselves to fight fires that spark in the community.

Central Jackson County Volunteer Firefighter Michael Moore said, "In our area it's all over the map, we've had plane crashes. We've had vehicle accidents, structure fires, woods fires so we have done a lot."

And while those, like Moore, who put their lives on the line are armed with extensive knowledge the Jackson County Fire District Director Jeff Mattison believes hands on experience like this is invaluable.

Mattison said, "With our funding that we receive and budgets it's hard to be able to put on, with the props that they have, this type of training. To be able to come out here and fight fires at the level that they can out here it's absolutely wonderful."

Chevron Pascagoula Refinery Fire Chief Ricky Conerly said, "This is the only facility, that we know of, in the world that provides this type of training for volunteer firefighters. I think that's a pretty lofty statement for Chevron, to be able to do that says volumes for the support that we give back to the community."

Firefighters were also put in a trailer filled with smoke and tasked with rescuing mannequins.

"You can't see, you are all in your SPCA so your hot, you are looking for victims, you've got a fire so even if you are not claustrophobic, you get the sensation," Beth Remick with the North East Fire Department said.

There was also a hydrocarbon fire which requires both foam and water to be extinguished.

"This has been a wonderful day and we will definitely use this training," Remick said.

"All the participants seem to be having a good time, learning a lot, the guys that put on the program are doing a wonderful job for us," Moore agreed.

The training is provided by Chevron completely free and Mattison said the firefighters enjoy it so much it is a battle for the spots.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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