Local Teenagers Participate in Junior Firefighter Camp at Jackso - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Local Teenagers Participate in Junior Firefighter Camp at Jackson's Mill

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Some local teens who are interested in saving the lives of others are at Jackson's Mill this week, thanks to West Virginia University's Fire Service Extension.

More than 100 teenagers are learning what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter and help save people's lives, for plenty of good reasons.

"Well, I came last year, and I had a blast. I love firefighting," said Bethany Carmichael.

"I'm the third generation in my family to do this, my dad got me into it, and my pap was in it," said Lexie Langmyer.

The Junior Firefighter Camp began seven years ago with the intention of helping recruitment retention for volunteer fire departments and to improve students' knowledge and experience.

"We look at leadership. Who is going to be stepping up to be the leader? Who's going to be leaders in our communities tomorrow and further on the future?" said program director Mark Doty.

The program is designed to show its students that being a member of their local VFDs is more complex than one might think. Students learn about forcible entry, rooftop ventilation, search and rescue, aircraft rescue, vehicle fires, structural fires, natural gas well fires, and more.

Everything at the camp is geared towards how actual departments operate.

"See the plane back there? Our first battalion, everybody that's second year, we got to fight the fire in that today. It was awesome. It was the best experience I've had in a long time," said Brett Reed of Sissonville.

Dozens of mentors, including Lonnie Cogar of the Alum Creek VFD, shared their skills with students. Cogar said it's good to teach them young.

"It's very important to get the younger generation involved in the fire service because it is a dwindling service, it's harder to get people out to join the volunteer fire service," said Cogar.

The camp will conclude Wednesday night with a controlled burn in a 50x50 fire pit.