Firefighters train for cotton fires - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Firefighters train for cotton fires

(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

CHATTANOOGA, OK (KSWO) - Volunteer firefighters and other emergency workers gathered at Chattanooga's fire department on Tuesday to learn how to better fight fires when it comes to dealing with cotton.

Chattanooga firefighters said the number of fires they responded to, involving cotton, has risen in the past year.

Firefighters within the department said they decided to offer this class because there aren't any classes focus on battling cotton fires and they wanted to make sure other volunteer firefighters know how to battle them before they're at the scene.

Organizers of the training caught some cotton on fire to show how quickly the fire spreads.

Module fires can start from something as simple as a rock that gets pulled into the machine that collects the cotton off the field those rocks can get hot and the heat can ignite the cotton.

Hayden Gray is just one firefighter learning how to battle these fires. He hasn't fought one yet, but he said it's important to know what to do before ever getting the call. 

"So everybody is on the right track when they go to the call and they're not just goin' and one person doing something and another person doing something else and it doesn't match well," Gray said.

Chattanooga volunteer firefighter, Philip Bohl helped organize the class and says when a module is on fire, putting it out quickly should be first and foremost.

"You can save 4 to 6 thousand dollars for the farmer if you can put it out," Bohl said.

Bohl said a small dark spot or several dark spots on a cotton module is an indication there's trouble.

"If it's a small dark spot on it, they can dig the cotton out and be wetting it down as they get it out and probably save the module,” Bohl said. “If the module is all on fire, from one end to the other, it is beyond saving and all you can do is move the surrounding modules and get farm equipment to break up the module. Let it burn."

Before participating in the training, Gray said he didn't know what to expect, but went on to say what he learned will help him in multiple ways.

"Whether I'm in the cotton field working or I respond to one I'm going to be able to know more about how to put it out than going in blind and not knowing anything," Gray said.

Bohl said if the cotton that’s in the farmer's equipment catches on fire, make sure to don't dump the cotton where the wind would blow the fire back onto your equipment.

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