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Tioga firefighters to get training in Texas

TIOGA – Six volunteer firefighters from Tioga will attend specialized training in Texas to prepare for oilfield incidents thanks to a donation from Hess Corp.

Company representatives presented a $22,000 check Wednesday to the Tioga Fire Department to cover the costs to attend an industrial training course at Texas A&M University.

Rural Fire Chief Jim McGinnity, who has taken the course before, said the weeklong class focuses on crude oil fires, other flammable liquids and scenarios Tioga firefighters may encounter in the Oil Patch.

“They have an excellent course,” McGinnity said.

Hess Corp., which has a natural gas plant and other operations based in Tioga, has made contributions in the past that have sent several Tioga firefighters to the training, McGinnity said. The donation presented Wednesday will send new volunteer firefighters and others who have not yet attended the class, McGinnity said.

In addition to supporting the fire department, Hess has an onsite emergency response team at the Tioga gas plant that receives specialized training, said spokesman John Roper.

The majority of calls that Tioga volunteer firefighters respond to are vehicle accidents, McGinnity said.

But the firefighters have to be ready in the event of an oilfield incident, McGinnity said. Last week, Tioga firefighters were called after a natural gas pipeline ruptured and caused a fire that was visible for miles.

During the summer, the fire department often responds to oilfield fires that result from lightning strikes, McGinnity said.

“It’s always something,” he said.