Setting another controlled burn: Firefighters and Underwriters Laboratories team up again

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- What happens in Milwaukee...definitely will not stay in Milwaukee. Results from a firefighting study occurring in Milwaukee will be shared nationwide.

FOX6 News first told you about this research effort last Thursday, July 3rd.

On Tuesday, July 8th -- firefighters set another fire -- a controlled burn, that may deliver significant data.

Here's the scenario: A garbage container somehow catches fire right next to a house with asphalt siding. It's not unheard of in Milwaukee, and it's a highly flammable situation.

"When heated to a high enough temperature, it does liberate hydrocarbons which is basically petroleum products," Assistant Fire Chief Dan Lipski said.

Milwaukee firefighters on Tuesday stood at the corner of 25th and Townsend and watched.

Underwriters Laboratories is using video, thermal imaging and sensors to measure temperature and pressure through the structure.

"We simulate different firefighter tactics -- based on that we're able to tell through our sensors, what's being effective, what's not being effective throughout the structure," Steve Kerber, the Director of Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute said.

It is important to note, as the fire raged outside and began to enter the home on Tuesday, the rooms inside showed no signs of approaching danger -- but a smoke detector could have.

"Smoke detectors are key. We haven't had a fire fatality in the city this year in which we had a working smoke detector -- which leads you to believe  if you have a smoke detector, they do save lives," Lipski said.

Tuesday's fire was the fourth controlled burn for the study in a week.

Last Thursday, firefighters set a fire near 5th and Burleigh which captured the neighborhood.

"I think it`s a good idea that they`re doing this research because it can save lives," Ruth Howard said.

That's the idea -- knowing how to best put out fires in attics converted to living spaces can save the lives of firefighters and residents.

The last experimental burn is set for Wednesday.

Underwriters Laboratories will analyze the data over the next few weeks and put together tactical considerations for firefighters nationwide.