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House donated to Windsor Fire Department for training

WINDSOR TOWNSHIP — Eight Windsor Township Volunteer Fire Department firefighters received a day of fire-filled training, fighting house-fire flames rising from a local home donated for that very purpose.

James and Elinor Tagg of Enon donated the dilapidated house, located one mile east of Linville on State Route 217, to the fire department specifically for training.

The house was owned by James’ late parents, Forrest and Wilma Tagg, who were the inspirations for the recent donation.

“Prior to this house, there used to be an older house my father had on that land,” James said. “It was built for his sister, and when she moved away he donated it to the fire department for training before he built this one.”

At least two generations of firefighters have benefited from Tagg homes, gaining experience that only real fire fighting can offer. But donations like this are not everyday occurrences.

Windsor Township Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Don Christian said an opportunity like this is not typical for his department.

“Sometimes we will have these kinds of donations if a house is no longer livable and people don’t want to pay taxes and the house is too dilapidated to fix,” Christian said. “It does not happen often, unless a barn has fallen in or something, which is not an ideal training location. But a house of this magnitude doesn’t come along very often.”

James said he and his wife had contemplated refurbishing the home, but once they took a serious estimation, it was simply too much work.

And as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For the fire department, the burning house was a golden opportunity for education.

“This kind of training lets the new fire fighters go in a burning house in a controlled environment instead of a wild fire,” Christian said. “We start fires we can control which allows the fighters to go into a burning home to experience what they can or cannot see because of smoke.”

And although the environment is exactly like a house fire, Christian said it is not a dangerous situation for the trainees.

“There is danger in anything you do,” he said. “If you go to the mailbox, it’s dangerous. These fires are very, very well controlled. We don’t let the fire blow windows out or anything.”

Without donations like the Tagg home, volunteer firefighters are typically subject to fireless training. For the Windsor Fire Department, the usual training takes place upstairs at the department, using an obstacle course and simulated blindness.

“We typically do not use any smoke or fire at all in our training,” Christian said. “It is an efficient way to train, but nothing beats the experience in a real house fire.”

On behalf of the Windsor Township Volunteer Fire Department, Christian expressed gratitude to the Tagg family for their donation, saying the fire fighters received sufficient training from the gift. And on the other side of the deal, James said he was happy they chose to accept the home for training.

As for the burned house, James said he plans to have the area cleaned, but he is not sure if he will put another structure on the land.