Department Uses New Tactic to Battle House Fire

The Woodbury Fire Department is the only one in the region to use the method, fire chief says.

Battling a house fire might seem like a chaotic event.

For the , putting out was “almost like a theatrical performance,” said Deputy Public Safety Director Todd Johnson.

The department used a new tactic in which firefighters place high-powered fans at the entrance and exit, clearing smoke and heat so crews can more closely focus on the flames, Johnson told Patch at the scene Monday.


The Woodbury Fire Department is the only one in the region to use the method, Johnson said, and local firefighters planned to demonstrate it for their counterparts during a training event tonight (April 24) in St. Paul.

In addition to helping firefighters douse flames, it’s also a safer technique, Johnson said. The Woodbury FD has been practicing the tactic for the past two years and put it into action only a couple of times before Monday’s fire, he said.

The fire on Pheasant Run Road was “just like training,” Johnson said, noting that firefighters have practiced with the fans 150 times. And the new technique helped.

“They had the fans out and were able to get in within a matter of minutes, even though it was a fully involved room,” he said.

As for Johnson’s theater analogy, the effort during Monday’s fire “followed the script exactly,” he said.


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Vicki Strong April 24, 2012 at 01:30 PM
That explains a lot. It took by our (neighbors') estimate nearly 10 minutes from the time they arrived (and there were many units there very quickly) until they were pumping water from the hydrants. It did look like a staged event; almost like a "controlled burn." That it was limited to primarily the lower level (and mostly one room) is amazing. Way to go Woodbury Fire Department!
Kris Janisch April 24, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Yeah, Johnson said it really was exactly like a training session. How are they Vicki?
Vicki Strong April 25, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I stopped by late morning and they are doing OK all things considered.
Kris Janisch April 25, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Thanks for the update Vicki, good to hear.


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