Elected officials step into firefighters' shoes in Merced County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- North Valley residents may have seen smoke billowing into the sky on Sunday, but it was all part of a training burn.

Merced County Cal Fire set up a controlled structure fire for its new volunteers and students in the Merced College Fire Academy. It took place at a vacant home near Highway 59 and Lacava Road.

City council members from Merced and Atwater, along with Atwater's mayor, also had the chance to go into the burning building in full gear. Firefighters say the goal was to show those elected officials how dangerous the job is and the importance of adequate staffing.

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