Students from the LBJ Fire Academy work their way towards a propane fire, using fire hoses to control the blaze. The purpose of the drill wasn’t to put out the fire, but to use the spray to get close enough to the propane tank to turn off its fuel source. Five McCallum seniors, John Hughes, Thomas Lucy, Tex Mitchell, Molly Odland and Will Russo, participated in the live fire skill day, where they put into practice what they’ve learned during the two year student-sharing program at LBJ High School. “Being in the live fire gave me really intense adrenaline,” senior Molly Odland said. “I was the head of my group, meaning I was in charge of directing the hose line at the fire while my group supported me from behind.” Senior Will Russo, who also had the chance to lead the group, said that the drill felt like being in a hot car. “It wasn’t all that scary since you were with a bunch of people, but it was kind of intimidating because there was nothing in between you and the fire but water,” Russo said.

Weekend fire drill (November 2020) by Bella Russo

First-year Shield staff member, Lanie Sepehri chose a photograph taken at a live-fire drill held at the Austin Fire Academy for the LBJ Fire Academy students in November of 2020.

“This image is just striking. It’s dramatic and it forces you to look at it,” said Sepehri. “I love the dark blue and black background plus the towering column of fire; the colors contrast in a really nice way and it’s just so beautiful. I also think the silhouettes of the student firefighters look very somber in front of the fire.”

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