Airplane fire simulator ready to train Charlotte County firefighters

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Airplane fire simulator
Airplane fire simulator. (Credit: Charlotte County Fire and EMS)

You might soon see what looks like a plane burning alongside I-75 in Charlotte County, but there is no need to worry.

The life-sized plane model is a fire simulator for airplane firefighting training to prepare firefighters to respond to aviation emergencies.

Airplane fire simulator. (Credit: Charlotte County Fire and EMS)

For weeks, thousands of drivers heading north on I-75, approaching the exit to the Punta Gorda airport, have passed the fire simulator and have probably wondered what it was.

The answer is a new aircraft simulator designed for firefighters. The picture below shows what it will simulate.

Airplane fire simulator. (Credit: Charlotte County Fire and EMS)

“They can fight that fire and the engine and the doors, there’s each of those have the same doors too. So they build up that muscle memory, everything is designed to make it as realistic as possible, of an actual aircraft that they might find,” said Todd Dunn, the public information officer for Charlotte County Fire and EMS.

Dunn said the price tag for this simulator is $9 million.

Firefighters from across the country are expected to come to Charlotte County to train with the new simulator.

“Right now, we have the most technological, most advanced simulator in the country because it’s the newest, and the only other one like it right now is in Denver,” said Dunn.

While fires on planes are rare, firefighters can’t take the chance it won’t happen when they’re on duty.

Airplane fire simulator. (Credit: Charlotte County Fire and EMS)

Dunn said the simulator would create as close to a real-life emergency as possible. “Not only will they’ll be able to experience real fire, real smoke, but they’re, they’re going to be doing it in the safest environment possible too.”

Now that the simulator is complete, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in October.

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