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Photo by Rachelle Klemme. Jayme George was one of the Deer Creek firefighters participating in a controlled burn of a vacant house in town.

DC firefighters conduct controlled burn

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The controlled burn of a vacant Deer Creek house the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 25 sent up an impressive billow of smoke and provided practice for the city's volunteer firefighters.

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Fire Chief Jerry Moen said they got a permit from the DNR, which lets them carry out controlled burns for training.

Fire Captain Dan Hendershot said that the property's new owner wanted the house taken down so they could improve the lot.

"This was just done as an exterior," he said. "Because of the condition of the house, we couldn't go inside."

In exterior training, the fire department protects the nearby trees and adjacent structures.

"From the time we started the fire upstairs till the time it fell in was 40 minutes," he said.

The house was inspected prior to the burn to make sure there was no asbestos or mercury that would be released during the process.

Did anyone think it was a real fire?

Hendershot said one person from the Henning and Vining area and a firefighter from Hewitt thought something was up, and that a lot of cars on Minnesota Highway 106 were lined up to watch.

Hendershot said the fire department does one or two controlled burns a year, often shared with other fire departments like Henning, New York Mills and Hewitt. This time, it was just the Deer Creek fire department.

He said that with four new firefighters in the department, it was a good exercise.

"Firefighter safety is the most important thing," he said.

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