MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Thousands upon thousands of gallons of fuel in one location, extreme weather conditions and high vehicle or aircraft traffic at a fueling point could be the recipe for disaster.
Marines with Bulk Fuel Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group know a fuel fire can ignite at a moment’s notice and cost loss of lives and equipment.
Therefore, they combined efforts with aircraft rescue and firefighting specialists with Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Division, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing to conduct a training exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., May 22.
“We are the first responders,” said Staff Sgt. Carlos I. Castillo, the maintenance chief for Bulk Fuel Co. “We need to be able to contain the fire until the firefighters get to where we are.”
During the exercise, the Marines received a brief on responsibilities as a firefighter, and classes on how to properly set up and assemble the fire proximity suit and how to use the different hoses and nozzles.
“We want to train our Marines on different aspects of their [job]. Not just the fuel side, but also the firefighting side of it too,” explained Sgt. Jacob C. Almaguer, a bulk fuel specialist with Bulk Fuel Co. “We want to familiarize them with the gear, so they know when the time comes they are prepared to handle any situation.”
The training culminated with troops applying lessons learned and extinguishing four different controlled-fuel fires. During the first three fires, the Marines used water pumped at high pressures by two firefighting trucks. The Marines used a Twin Agent Unit to put out the last fire.
“We have a TAU in almost every fueling point and it puts out a combination of potassium bicarbonate and aqueous film forming foam to control a fire,” Castillo said. “The TAU gives us the capability to put out a class A Fire [ordinary combustible] and Class B fire [flammable liquid].”
Pfc. Riley J. Campbell, a bulk fuel specialist and one of the service members involved in the exercise, explained the importance of having this set of skills in his career field.
“I feel this training is very important, because we are the people there handling the fuel,” Campbell concluded. “I feel more comfortable knowing that I can do my job and if something happens, like a fire, I can extinguish it and save lives and equipment.”