162nd Wing firefighters complete joint live fire training

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(U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Firefighters with the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing located at Tucson International Airport participated in a joint live fire training with firefighters from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Tucson International Airport on Dec. 8 at D-M AFB.

This aircraft fire exercise provides personnel the opportunity to work with partner agencies to extinguish a fire charged by jet fuel.

“The goal of the training is to keep us familiar with the characteristics of burning fuel and techniques for controlling aircraft fires to enhance rescue of aircrew and passengers, said Chief Master Sgt. Leslie Tyree from the 162nd fire department.

When an aircraft incident is reported at Tucson international, both the 162nd and airport fire departments respond whether the aircraft is military or civilian.

Tyree says he works to ensure the wing fire department has various opportunities for joint training throughout the year, so they are equipped to assist not only TIA and DM, but also Tucson and Rural Metro fire departments.

During the exercise the 162nd and TIA personnel extinguished a total of five fires lit by a team of three firefighters appropriately outfitted with protective equipment.

Successful completion of this exercise is an annual requirement for the wing, but for one firefighter it was bittersweet.

For the final burn of the day firefighter Keith Donnelly hit the lights and cranked the siren as he drove his fire truck to the base of the surging flames.

During his more than 25 years with the 162nd he said he has extinguished more fires than he can count, but that he will never forget working with this group of firefighters to extinguish his last.
“It was a great feeling to extinguish the final burn of my career,” said Donnelly. “The 162nd has been a great place to serve and work.”

Donnelly will retire from the 162nd fire department in Dec. and will say goodbye to the friends he made along the way, those who he says have become part of his family, his Guard family.