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Massive drill prepares first responders for disasters like Sheboygan Falls plane crash

Posted at 10:12 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 23:12:07-04

A recent plane crash and fire in Sheboygan County meant thousands of gallons of water were needed, but with no fire hydrants.

On Monday, every fire department in the county drilled for a disaster just like that.

The training exercise was outside the Toro Plant in Plymouth. The idea was to see if fire departments could continuously supply water for a major disaster without using hydrants.

“Our goal is 2,000 gallons a minute and we are trying to sustain it for an hour and a half,” said Chief Bob Kroeplien of Sheboygan Falls.

Last Friday’s plane crash made this training even more important. They used 10,000 gallons of water that day plus foam to put out the plane and the farm building bag caught fire.

“It was probably bigger than most people realize. There was four fuel cells that all came off of the craft so they had scattered all over, said Kroeplien.

There are no hydrants by the Sheboygan County airport. It's an issue even the City of Sheboygan deals with.

“There are areas in the city where we don't have hydrants. Or we might be drawing so much water that we need this type of system as backup,” said Chief Mike Romas of Sheboygan.

It happened in Plymouth this past fall.

In November 2017, an apartment fire overtaxed the city's water supply making it hard to use the hydrants.

“We had four aerials actually pumping from there and we were using hydrants and three engines pumping out of the river,” said Chief Denis Fellows of Plymouth. “At times it wasn't enough.”

But this evening, the 22 area fire department's show they could get the water they need.

“Since they started 50 minutes ago they have never stopped. That in itself is amazing,” said Romas.