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Warren Tech

Investigating a fire drill at Warren Tech

Fire, forensics and criminology students have hands-on learning opportunity


It may have been disconcerting for students passing by Warren Tech in the morning of May 9 to see smoke billowing from behind the school.

But it was no cause for concern — instead, it was a chance for Warren Tech fire science, forensics and criminology students to see firsthand how fires move and are investigated once they’ve been put out.

“This is a practical opportunity for students in three areas to use what they’ve learned all year long,” said Rob Sprenkle, Fire Prevention Technician with the Cunningham Fire Protection District. “They all specialize in different areas but its important to see how their skills can be practically applied.”

For the mock arson exercise, a 12-by-12 foot building “home” was set on fire. West Metro, Cunningham and Denver fire departments all helped run the exercise, and guide the investigation for the fire’s causes.

Students were asked to notice fire patterns, keep an eye on potential causes both inside and outside the building, and to ask questions.

“We do a lot of field trips, lab work and in-class speakers in our classes,” said Afton Nance, Forensic Science Instructor at Warren Tech. “Hands-on opportunities like this help give them a sense of what kind of jobs they may want.”

Here are some of the best things we heard while attending the exercise:

• Matt Beckett, fire science instructor: "This will give students a sense of how quick a fire starts, and how quickly they can build up. There is so much science and math in what we do, but many kids prefer this kind of learning. Once they get their hands on it, everything starts to make sense."

• Afton Nance, forensics science instructor: "This is a great opportunity to see these programs work together. It will give everyone a chance to see the whole process, from blaze to investigation."

• Megan Schueller, criminal justice student: "It was great to see how information is collected, because we know with our fields its important to have help and experience."

• Samuel Sarpong, criminal justice student: "Being here today was important because it gave me an idea of what to expect in the future."


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