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Mirarmar Air Station Firefighters Train Against Jet Fuel Flames

Photo credit: MCAS Miramar

Members of the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting unit at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar practice extinguishing flames from a jet fuel fire, Oct. 19, 2013.

On a hot October day, Cpl. Cameron Arthur and more than a dozen crew members sparked a series of fires with more than one thousand gallons of jet fuel. The Saturday morning blazes at Marine Corps Miramar Air Station sent plumes of black smoke into the air visible from surrounding communities.

But on the ground, Arthur said things were under control — the fuel fires were part of monthly training exercises to keep Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting unit members comfortable in their heavy gear.

The team practiced in a large concrete pit far from brush, Arthur said.

"What we're doing is basically using water to push the fuel — 'cause the fuel sits on top of the water — and we're pushing the fuel along the fuselage of the aircraft to the back of the pit and then we're working together as a team to put that out," he said.

The unit rotated positions during the series of fuel fires to become familiar with each role. According to Arthur, flames reached 25 to 30 feet.

The crew burned a total of 1,200 gallons of jet fuel during the exercise, he said.

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