ND Paper Biron Division partners with local agencies for controlled burn and live fire training.

It takes a Village, or a Community!

Local effort results in controlled-burn of condemned mill property and rare training opportunity for several emergency and first-responding agencies.

Biron, Wisconsin–Over the weekend, on Saturday, April 24, Biron, Wisconsin was the site of a fire. However, it was planned, and it took a community to pull it off. ND Paper’s Biron Division partnered with several local fire departments to conduct a controlled burn of a condemned home on mill property. While this removed a property that provided the mill and the surrounding community nothing but headache, it did something significantly more important with its final demise: it helped local firefighters train in a more realistic setting and ridding the mill of an unwanted property at the same time.

The house, pictured above, was used in what is referred to as a controlled burn. This was a special training opportunity for the Village of Biron Volunteer Fire Department, the Grand Rapids Volunteer Fire Department, and the Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department. Fire Chief Dave Kerkman of the Village of Biron lead the effort and has been working with the ND Paper Biron EHS Team to coordinate.

“To have the opportunity to train our team in a live scenario like this is a rare experience. It allows us to practice in real-time situations and gives firefighters who have never experienced a live fire tangible experience and training that you just can’t get in a simulation,” Chief Kerkman said.

The home is one of four targeted for demolition in Biron over the last year. The first three came down in early 2020 because the mill needed the land to create a parking lot for the hundreds of contractors and vendors brought in to complete the critical B25 conversion. This endeavor was led by Maintenance Planner Dave “Steinie” Steinhilber, and reduced safety concerns for area residents.

In addition to the three area fire departments, this effort also included the Village of Biron Highway Department and Wood County Highway Department, as those agencies coordinated a required temporary road closure during the training.

ND Paper Biron Division Vice President and General Manager Dave Falk couldn’t be prouder of his team and his community: “This cross-organizational effort culminated in a single result: a win for the entire community.”

ND Paper is a leading pulp, packaging and paper company. As the US Division of Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited, the largest containerboard producer in China and Asia with $10 billion annual sales, we are part of a strong, global manufacturing operation and a rich customer-focused tradition. We are a leading company with a 100-year vision to invest in the growth and safety of our employees, scale our operations for our customers and markets, improve the sustainability of our industry, and build lasting partnerships in our communities.  We are proud of our four mills in Rumford and Old Town, ME, Fairmont, WV, and Biron, WI, as well as our corrugated packaging plant in Sturtevant, WI. We are even prouder of our dedicated employees who together make quality products, provide expert service, and drive value to our customers in the marketplace. Learn more about our company at www.us.ndpaper.com

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