Six cars set on fire for training program - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Six cars set on fire for training program

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Smoke poured into the sky in Stevens Point Tuesday to help train some insurance experts.

Firefighters set six cars on fire in the day-long training.

Claims adjusters came to the scene ready to see some fire.

"Generally when we get the claims for a car fire we see the after effects and the burned out unit but we never actually see how the fire behaves," said Sentry Insurance Claims Adjuster, Krysten Klapatauskas.

A fire investigations company organized this live fire training class for Sentry Insurance claims adjusters. It was designed to show them how a car fire behaves.

"When we describe certain things about a fire in one compartment or another, they understand what we are talking about," said Unified Investigations Manager Russ Nummer.

Sentry adjusters take calls from all over the country. Trainers say being able to understand what causes a car fire and how it spread is important.

"Sometimes we will get vehicle fires that the vehicle is completely gone and you wonder, well why didn't you put it out," said Klapatauskas.

Those questions were all answered today with the help of the Stevens Point Fire Department.

Firefighters also took full advantage to learn what happens when a car is on fire.

"We get to see how fire behaves within a car, within a vehicle and you know we do respond to quite a few car fires so it's always good to get that extra training," said Firefighter and Paramedic Shane Westphal.

The Fire Chief says his crews respond to about 40 car fires a year and the extra training is welcome.

Firefighter Shane Westphal was excited the training.

"We all get it in our beginning classes but it's good to refresh our skills," said Westphal.

Sentry Insurance says this is the first time its claims adjustors got to be eyewitnesses to car fires.

They say about 20% of the fire claims they handle are car fires.

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