NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Class is in session this weekend at Cape Fear Community College's North campus in Castle Hayne. Hundreds of firefighters showed up for Fire College, a different kind of school that does not teach from books.
Fire college is sponsored by the Pender County Firefighters Association. Professional firefighters join forces to teach future heroes how to tackle a fire in what they say is as real as it gets.
"You just can’t learn this stuff in a classroom," said rescue instructor Joe Mancos.
The college has designed structures capable of simulating real-life fires.
"They have props built in them to simulate a fire," said Joe Massey, an instructor for CFCC and a firefighter in Sloop Point. "It is fire in there, it does get hot, but we can control it somewhat.
Students gain hands-on knowledge by suiting up and applying their skills through various field courses. Fire College's main goal according to Fred Brannan of the New Hanover County Fire Fighter’s Association is "to give firefighters the most realistic training possible."
One fighter traveled nearly seven hours from the mountainous area of North Carolina to attend classes. She says its worth it.
"The instructors are top notch here," said Megan Lejare of Beach Mountain. "They are willing to work with you. They want to see us succeed."
The instructors at Fire College are enthusiastic about teaching and even brushing up on skills themselves. They say this is a great way to give back.