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Howard firefighters safely battle blaze in training exercise

Fitness

A house fire on College Avenue in Ellicott City was set Saturday by an unlikely team: the Howard County fire department.

Officials organized the training event — the second in three weeks — to give firefighters firsthand experience battling a blaze. Roughly 25 students participated, running into the structure to find and extinguish the fires, while a dozen staff members stood by to make sure all went well.

Such trainings were standard until a few years ago, when safety concerns and injuries nationwide, including the death of a Baltimore recruit in 2007, shuttered them. Howard County decided to bring them back under strict safety guidelines, using houses previously slated for demolition and donated for that purpose.

The first training event was held in Elkridge late last month. A third is set for Dec. 3, in the same area as the College Avenue training, said Jackie Cutler, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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