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Portage firefighter training came just in time for severe crash

screenshot from Portage Indiana Government Page Facebook video
Portage Fire Chief Randy Wilkening discusses his department's recent extrication training during the Dec. 6 city council meeting.

When a fatal six-vehicle crash happened in Portage last month, firefighters were quickly forced to put their training into practice. Portage Fire Chief Randy Wilkening says his firefighters had just completed an extrication class with Precision Towing, when they were called to the wreck at Willowcreek and Lute on November 8.

"Our crews had just got done training on some of that exact same stuff and those scenarios earlier that day. And then a couple of hours later, they had almost the exact same things that they were training on. Precision showed up. They did everything that they did in training. So it made a really bad situation just a little bit better," Wilkening told the Portage City Council Tuesday.

Wilkening said the fire department has had some very serious and emotionally-taxing calls in the past month. "It wasn't overwhelming calls, but, just, some of the calls were just, you know, the type of calls that you take home with you," he added.

Wilkening said battalion chiefs are working to make sure all firefighters are taken care of emotionally, as well as physically.