Milwaukee firefighters part of national study on attic fires

CREATED Jul 2, 2014 - UPDATED: Jul 2, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - A burning home becomes a teaching moment for Milwaukee Firefighters. They intentional set this fast moving attic fire to learn how to better protect firefighters.

From the outside, black smoke and flames shooting from a window don't tell whole story. 
 
But firefighters are now to go inside the hot zone and watch strategically placed cameras to see how quickly the fire can spread in hidden places. 
 
"What we specifically want to get is the fire behavior of how the fire moves throughout the structure," said Steve Kerber, Director of Firefighter Safety at Underwriters Laboratories in Illinois.
 
It's the hidden smoke and fire that concerns Kerber. Specifically in attics with short walls or knee walls. Milwaukee has lots of two and half story structures with these kind of attics. 
 
"As they start opening up the knee walls, things can go bad real quickly because there's a lot of energy behind those walls," said Kerber.
 
"In essence this home is being turned into a science lab that can provide fire fighters critical information about attic fires with more than 100 sensors and cameras throughout the house. 
 
"So we are a looking for better ways to deal with these type of fires," said Kerber.
 
Fires that can kill residents and firefighters.
 
"This is 100% aimed at finding the most efficient, scientific an experiential based tactic and strategy to keep 
ourselves safe and do the most good for the citizens we serve," said Assistant Fire Chief Dan Lipski.
 
More fires are planned for this week. The research is part of a $1,000,000 federal grant to study attic fires a round the country.