Firefighters in Washington are under investigation by the Washington State Patrol after they literally added fuel to the fire during a training session.
The incident happened at a training academy in North Bend and was actually caught on camera. The firefighters were responding to a mock plane crash when they got out their hose in an attempt to put out the flames using water. When they began to spray the water on the burning plane, however, the flames grew larger.
“When the firefighters put water on a fire that had been deliberately developed for training the fire got bigger instead of smaller,” said State Patrol’s Bob Calkins.
Somehow, the jet fuel that they had been using to ignite the flames for training was running through their water lines, which created a combustible combination of water and jet fuel. Two firefighters suffered minor burns from the incident.
"So we've shut that particular training mock-up down,” continued Calkins. “We're having experts come in and look at the incident itself and our oil/water separator and see what we need to do to make this safe for everybody.”
While the investigation is still ongoing, it is believed that the oil/water separator that is used during training sessions like this to filter fuels and oils from the water line is to blame. The separator is apparently from the 1990s, and the chances of it malfunctioning are high. The State Patrol is also investigating the possibility that it could have been caused by operator error.