McALESTER — Over the weekend, McAlester hosted a large scale firefighter training, the second annual McAlester Firefighters Classic, that educated more than 430 firefighters from fire departments all over Oklahoma.
The majority of the firefighters to attend were volunteer firefighters. In Pittsburg County alone there are 29 fire departments, only one of which is a paid department.
According to McAlester Fire Chief Brett Brewer, McAlester is the only paid department in Pittsburg County and the rest of the firefighters in Pittsburg County are unpaid and have been fighting fires as well as providing emergency services on a voluntary basis.
Firefighters not only fight fires, but provide emergency services, for example, extracting car accident victims from vehicles. There were 28 classes offered this year and of the 28 there were three levels of vehicle extracation offered and was conducted at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester.
Kiamichi Technology Center secured funding by applying for the Fire Fighter Initiative Grant. The grant was for $25,000 this year, over last year's $20,000. The grant covered the cost of training alone.
Private donations have been made and those donations were used to cover the costs of a dinner held Saturday and a luncheon on Sunday for firefighters..
Retired Assistant Fire Chief for Oklahoma City John Hanson called out the winners of door prizes won by firefighters in attendance.
Hansen is known nationally for his work at the wake of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrow building, nationally known as the Oklahoma City bombing.
There was training at various sites throughout the city of McAlester. Such as the Southeast Expo Center, Eastern Oklahoma State University campus, Kiamichi Technical Center, the Pittsburg County Firefighters Association and J.I. Stipe Center.
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