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Simulated fire goes interactive

The digital fire replicates fire behavior when hit with a hose stream

INDIANAPOLIS — After years of development and testing, Bullex unveiled its newest, and possibly most complex firefighter training tool at FDIC. In a smoked-up room, the simulated fire is quite convincing — absent the heat.

The system is a collection of 2- by 3-foot digital panels that are linked by waterproof Ethernet cables. The panels can be configured to represent floor, wall and ceiling, and while not tough enough to take a hit from a hand tool, they will stand up to a 2 ½-inch attack line.

At FDIC, Bullex set up a training scenario in a burn room that was configured to represent an entry area, a utility room and a bedroom. The utility room had panels behind a washer and dry. The bedroom had panels on the surface, side and top of a bed.

The burn room was smoked up and the only light was what the simulated fire gave off. Trainees had to knock down the fire by hitting the panels with water.


The panels react as real fire would depending on how and where water is applied, according to Bullex’s Director of Marketing Lori Gicewicz. Some of the firefighters who ran the evolution during the show didn’t know the fire was fake until it was out, she said.

If the firefighter hits the seat with the hose stream, the simulated fire goes out. However, if the firefighter misses the seat, the fire continues to grow — and in the case of the bedroom scenario, will roll onto the ceiling.

Bullex says the panels are simple to set up and could be used in industrial settings, donated houses that cannot be burned, or in a burn room at a training facility. Safe smoke and no live fire means the instructors can be right next to the trainee during the evolution.