The Shelbyville Fire Department on Saturday morning used a curtain to protect a house, keeping it completely undamaged by fire.

Fire Chief Gary Lynch explained that a piece of their equipment, a water curtain, protected the neighboring house on South 2nd Street in Shelbyville. The department was gaining training with a controlled burn of a house between two other houses in a residential neighborhood.

“We used the water curtain on one side of the fire and on the other side we had two men manually protecting the other house,” Lynch said. “Some people say the curtain won’t protect this well, that you have to hose down the house, but this house is not damaged in any way.”

The water curtain is like a super sprinkler that is set between the fire and an adjacent structure. It keeps the fire from spreading and also the neighboring house from being damaged from heat and smoke.

The house that was being burned had been destroyed by a fire a year ago in July. It had set burned out while owners and the city went through the process of getting clearance to destroy it.

“This did everybody a favor,” Lynch said. “It gave us training, the city was able to get rid of an eyesore, and the neighbors got rid of a smelly mess next door.”

Shelbyville had recently gained training when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources had the old resort at Eagle Creek burned down. This close-quarters burn gave the firefighters additional training.

John Curtis can be reached at

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