De videolink van het brandende huis


Klik op de foto - en de show begint
Click the picture - and the show begins


NBC15 News

"Where's the fire?"

That's what the man said, but he spoke it in Dutch.

And the fire? I found it burning right at the end of Navco Road, a dilapidated old house. And that guy speaking Dutch? Well, it's a perfectly normal way to talk - if you live in Belgium!

"They wanna see how Mobile, Alabama fights fires," says Mobile Fire Rescue District Chief Bill Hunter, in English. The 10 fire fighters who are visiting from across Belgium are eager to take part in a controlled burn of a house donated to the department.

"We're gonna have some of our guys right next to them just in case," says Chief Hunter. "Because the signal is, if you're starting to get in trouble, we're just gonna yank 'em out of there!"

And they're gonna throw one more wrench into the works -- me.

The guest firemen are trained well to battle blazes in they're own country.  I, of course, am not. But I do share something in common with most of them. I have never been on a training exercise in a real burning house.

"It will certainly be a new experience for them, and working with the equipment over here, it will be a little bit different from what we're used to," says Belgian firefighter Marc Opstal.

"Are you nervous? A little excited?" I ask.

"Let's call it excited, not nervous!" he laughs.

Well,  I'm nervous, cause they want me to go first, so they can get the reporter out of the way!

"You'll be on the nozzle," Chief Melvin Stringfellow says, coaching me. "There'll be someone right behind you and he'll have his shoulder on your back."

This time, the Belgians will be watching me, cause they know they're next!

Chief Stringfellow tells me to go in low, open the nozzle on the hose, spray in a circular motion until the fire goes black. I do and it does - but the smoke is intense, so much so that my photographer has to turn away.

"What television makes people think is when you go inside you can see what's going on," says Stringfellow.

But take it from me. Once you put out the flames and the smoke starts to boil, you can't see ANYTHING!

One by one, my Belgian counterparts experience the same thing, but the later blazes appear to be much bigger, much hotter. And they notice house fires here are different.

"In the U.S., you have a lot of woodframe buildings, and in Belgium and Europe you have a lot of brick and stone," notes Belgian firefighter Carl Verstrepen.

"They do not burn nearly as fast?" I ask.

"That's right! But we have some hot fires!"

And another difference. In Belgium, they fight fires with less water. Why?

"Because, insurance companies call and say we pay the damage," says firefighter Filip Cauwenberg.

"Wait a minute!" I exclaim. "You have to deal with insurance companies in Belgium too?"

"Yeah, yeah!"

Now don't you feel much closer to these guys already?

You can check out the Belgium Fire Fighter’s daily blog by visiting this link:


Most of it is in Dutch, but if you explore the site, you will find some English translation, and the pictures are fun!

Here is the link to the story you have asked about:
Ron Reams
Internet News Producer
WPMI-TV - Mobile, AL
661 Azalea Road
Mobile, AL 36609
Direct Line Phone: (251) 652-1285
Fax: (251) 602-1550
And thanks to NBC15 to let us have the material


met dank aan Patrick en echtgenote uit Nieuwpoort

00:21 Gepost door Carl Verstrepen in Algemeen | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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