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London firefighters spending week in Martinsville training

Firefighters receiving classroom, live-fire training

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – As smoke billowed out of a shipping container built to simulate different fire scenarios, London firefighter Michelle Hickmott and three other members of the fire brigade were inside, learning from Martinsville firefighters.

"We're currently looking at evidence-based research about how we approach firefighting. Here in Martinsville, (the firefighters) worked closely with a gentleman called John Taylor who has written a book called "Smoke Burns." We had the opportunity to read that book and meet John over in the U.K.," Hickmott said.

"He invited us here to Martinsville so we could actually see that in practice."

Martinsville firefighter Logan Peters said the training uses material set on fire to teach firefighters what to do as opposed to training with a gas-fed fire that's controlled with a switch.

"It's a live fire. It's coming at you," Peters said. "So unless you do something to change the conditions, the potential is there to be dangerous."

The training has been around since 2011, but Peters said it never gets old.

"Since then, we've continued to learn and grow, myself included. I learn every time," said Peters.

Hickmott said Tuesday's training scenario was worth the trans-Atlantic trip. 

"(It was) really impressive the way that they dealt with (the fire), the way that they instructed us. I'm sure we'll build on it over the next couple of days and make it potentially more challenging," Hickmott said.