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Smoke house helps kids learn fire safety

October 14, 2012
The Mining Journal


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Always have two escape routes.

Article Photos

Marquette City Fire Department firefighter Mike Gwinn assists Sandy Knoll Elementary School second-grader Elodie Malhrede, 7, climb out the window to escape smoke from a simulated fire in the fire department's mobile fire safety house. The mobile house was at the school Friday helping firefighters teach kids about the importance of having at least two escape routes in their homes, as well as other fire safety tips. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)

That's the message students at Sandy Knoll Elementary School received Friday as they took part in using the Marquette City Fire Department's mobile fire safety house as a part of Fire Prevention Week.

"It's so beneficial," said second-grade teacher Marsha Page of having the mobile facility spend the day at Sandy Knoll. "It takes the fear out of it (trying to escape a fire). It gives everyone a clear plan. ... We really make it important in the classroom, as well."

Students learned the importance of always having at least two escape routes in their home in case of a fire. They also learned to feel doors for heat before opening them and got the chance to practice calling 911 for help. And, of course, they learned to stop, drop and roll in the event of a fire.

The fire safety house is a trailer that is meant to simulate a room in an average home. It's somewhat furnished and has a window and a door. Smoke can be generated to fill the room so the students can understand what that would feel like in the case it was actually happening.

Firefighter Mike Gwinn was on hand to help the students escape from the fire safety house, assisting the kids as they got away from the smoke-filled room by climbing out a window.

"We fill the room up with smoke, we heat up a door so they get a chance to feel it," Gwinn said. "They seem to have fun with it, too, and hopefully they learn something."

The fire safety house was brought to several area elementary schools throughout the week, helping inform students what to do should a fire ever occur in their own homes.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is



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