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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Shortly after 11 a.m. on Dec. 8 — in the midst of a training exercise — someone cut into radio traffic to report a fire.

Alex Temporado, Area II fire chief, was monitoring the radio and thought it was just part of the training.

But then, “I could tell by the tone of his voice” that it was an actual fire, Temporado said during an interview Monday.

He launched about 16 firefighters to the quarters, which were vacant due to a renovation project. He lauded his crew’s work in cutting through the icy roof to extinguish the attic fire.

“We put the fire out, nobody got hurt and we saved the building,” he said. “Any time you have an attic fire, it’s difficult.”

Key in the success, he said, was cutting ventilation holes in the roof and getting the nozzles into the space to put out the fire.

Base medical personnel also rushed to the scene to monitor the firefighters during the strenuous work. Temporado said his staff was able to put out the fire in about 25 minutes, so they had no problems with exhaustion or other injuries.

He said they also used thermal imagery equipment to locate hot spots — such as rafters.

Temporado said his staff trains constantly to stay proficient and safe in the job. They’ve even used buildings that were to be destroyed to train for attic fires.

“We actually went up on the roofs and cut ventilation holes,” he said of the training.

Temporado said his preliminary investigation of Thursday’s incident points to an electrical fire that caused about $73,000 damage to the vacant $400,000 unit.

He said he hopes the fire will serve as a somber reminder for safety during the holiday season.

“Fires can happen anywhere at any time,” he said. “Use extra precaution.”

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