HomeNewsArticle Display

Once more into the burn

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard prepare to breach Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit, Sept. 9, 2020. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard prepare to breach Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit, Sept. 9, 2020. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard breach Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit, Sept. 9, 2020. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard breach Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit, Sept. 9, 2020. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard extinguish an internal aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard extinguish an internal aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard extinguish an internal aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard extinguish an internal aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard exit Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit, Sept. 9, 2020. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard exit Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit, Sept. 9, 2020. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard ready to fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard ready to fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

A Rickenbacker Air National Guard firefighter radios commands, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

A Rickenbacker Air National Guard firefighter radios commands, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 12

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 12

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 12

Firefighters from Rickenbacker Air National Guard fight an external aircraft fire, Sept. 9, 2020, at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s burn pit. About 40 Citizen Airmen from RANG’s fire department came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, to do their annual live-fire training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --

Two trucks are already on the scene as flames engulf the rusted wreckage. Equipment dawned, the firefighters stand behind a concrete ring, ready and waiting for the order to let loose a torrent of water.

About 40 Rickenbacker Air National Guard firefighters came to the 910th Airlift Wing, Sept. 8-10, 2020, to do their annual live-fire training at Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s firefighter training area, known locally as the burn pit.

The firefighters were broken up into groups of about 13, each group attending one of the three days of training. Rickenbacker’s Citizen Airmen and a few YARS Airmen repeatedly fought internal and external aircraft fires, valve-controlled by the fire department’s assistant chiefs, who lowered or increased the blaze depending on how well each team addressed the flame.

“It gets hot in there,” said Rick Hare, YARS’s assistant fire chief. “The first group, it’s not too bad, but the second and third, depending on how many groups there are, that steel holds the heat. It gets toasty.”

Rickenbacker’s firefighters aren’t the only ones utilizing the training area. The 910th Civil Engineer Squadron has a partnership with Toledo Express Air National Guard Base and Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base.

Mutual assistance is commonplace between the Department of Defense’s fire departments due to a strong camaraderie built while attending technical school together. The younger members trained at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, and the more veteran members went to Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois.

“We all chewed the same dirt,” said Denise Atkins, Rickenbacker’s assistant fire chief. “It’s a brotherhood. We’re all wearing a blue uniform (YARS, RANGB and TEANGB)… and some of them are green (MANG).”

After a while, the valves close and the fire finally stops. Water is blasted onto the hot steel and steam fills the area where the fire once raged. Should the need arise, these firefighters will be better-prepared to respond.