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Smoky Kadena fire drill rattles off-base residents

Date Posted: 2008-02-14

The smoke, flames and sirens at Kadena Air Base were all part of a base fire drill simulating an aircraft crash emergency, but to Kadena Town residents, it was a disaster in the making.

The realistic emergency scenario sent dozens of firefighters into action, dousing fire from the simulated crash, with more than ten fire engines responding and spraying water on the aircraft. Fire rescue operations were included too, with firemen pulling human size manikins from the plane and administering first aid.

The problem was, nobody told the Kadena Town Office, as required by agreements. Surprise and shock were common among drivers passing alongside the sprawling airbase and seeing the smoke and flames. “I was very much frightened to see this,” said one man. “We didn’t know it was a fire drill. We thought it was real.” Kadena officials say the fire drill was scheduled for a day later, but said sometimes fire drills encounter “sudden and different situations, so we can’t tell the place and date ahead of time.”

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