The Chapel Hill Fire Department has finished their training with the controlled burns of the old houses along 15-501 South between Arlen Park Drive and Market Street, now making way for the new Southern Village hotel.

Public Information Officer of the Chapel Hill Fire Department, Lisa Edwards, says that the burns were a success, and that everyone involved most importantly, stayed safe.

“The burns went very, very well,” says Edwards. “First and foremost, they were safe. We didn’t have any injuries of firefighters or any personnel that were on-scene.”

Edwards says that it has been 10 years since the department has had an opportunity like this, and that being able to obtain the permits to practice it on houses, outside of their limited training areas, offered invaluable training for firefighters.

“The biggest thing was that it gave us that practical application of trying different fire fighting techniques based on what they were dealing with as they entered the scene, whether they could assess smoke patterns and flame patterns,” says Edwards. “Sometimes, we’d go in there and just knock [the flames] down just a little bit so it could come back up, so they have another opportunity to fight it before they put it out; that was just invaluable.”

In addition to thanking the citizens of Chapel Hill for being patient about the fires and the lane closures that occurred during the burns, Edwards also wanted to reach out and thank other local services that cooperated in conjunction with the live burn training.

“I want to thank Orange County Emergency Management and South Orange Rescue for having staff there each day to take our vital signs and make sure hydration was given, and to Bryan Properties, to give us the homes to burn.”

The Chapel Hill Fire Department has uploaded a point-of-view cam video of one of the controlled burns. You can watch it by clicking here.