KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - In this August heat, an East Texas fire academy is preparing its latest group of cadets to face a burning structure, in full bunker gear, in 100 degree temperatures.
This year’s Kilgore Fire Academy has a diverse group from all over the nation, plus a large group of Canadians.
They all came to what they say is the best fire training available anywhere.
Nine Canadians have joined Texans and others from across the nation at the academy, learning critical training to save lives and property.
"I spoke to representatives of my local fire department, and more than half of them had been to Kilgore specifically," says Ryan Dubinsky of Vancouver, British Columbia.
"I compared this to a couple other fire academies, and found that this one gave great results," says Liam Atkinson from Nova Scotia.
“It was recommended to me. I had a buddy that came down last summer and he said it was awesome, so I figured I’d give it a try,” said Austin Dick of Coeur D’alene, Idaho.
East Texan Kali Bynog joins the class right out of high school.
“I was in the dual credit program for fire academy. I do it through Kilgore so I’m a Kilgore College student,” she says.
For the Canadians, it has been difficult dealing with something they’ve never experienced: Texas heat.
“It was like being punched in the face, it was so hot. We couldn’t understand how it could be that humid and that hot at the same time,” Dubinsky says.
“Me too, eh?,” Liam says.
Saturday they will face their toughest test. Real time fire suppression, in full bunker gear, in 100 degree heat.
"This is the make or break. Throughout this last week we've made some adjustments, learned how to deal with the heat a bit," Ryan says.
"This gave me a very good basis for what I'm trying to learn and I felt like I'm very prepared to go and get some jobs after this," Atkinson says.
The cadets will spend many hours in real-time fire suppression training at the Longview Fire Department’s drill field starting Saturday morning.