Nine-year-old Evans resident Madison Edner dropped to the floor and crawled downstairs to safety as smoke filled a small upstairs room.
The situation was only a simulated blaze inside a Grovetown Department of Public Safety demonstration trailer, but at Saturday's 10th annual Fire Fest, it taught Madison what to do should she experience a house fire.
"I crawled down the stairs and went to the meeting place at the mailbox," Madison said. Her mother, Jodi Edner, said her family didn't have a fire safety plan in place in their home until coming to the event.
"It's not something you actually think about until you go to something like this," she said.
The event, which is organized by the Rotary Club of Columbia County and the Columbia County Fire Chiefs Association, seeks to educate children and adults about fire safety in a way that is fun for the community.
Fire Fest was held in the Evans Town Center field behind Kroger and featured games for children and firefighter muster competitions by Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue, Grovetown Department of Public Safety, McDuffie County Fire Department, Fort Gordon Fire Department and the Davisboro Volunteer Fire Department.
There also was a visit by fire safety icon Smokey Bear, a helicopter demonstration by Gold Cross, an exhibition of fire and emergency response equipment and live music.
The muster competition featured six speed tests including the individual rapid dress, multiple-target attack and burst hose.
Martinez-Columbia Battalion Chief Danny Kuhlmann said the muster competition shows the public a different side of firefighting.
"It shows the public the fun side of fire service and the competitive side," he said.
The competition is a good representation of the way departments fight fires, the firefighter said:
"We operate ... at an event like this just like we would in emergency situations."
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