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Firefighter pulls heavy duty

Al Doran and his team prepare a tank for donation for training. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
July 16, 2014 - Al Doran, Independence Township firefighter and owner of a heavy-rigger trucking company, recently donated a 20-foot tank usually used to store petroleum products to the Rochester Fire Department for special confined spaces training.

Confined spaces training comes in handy during a variety of emergency scenarios that can occur in a home or workplace.

Firefighters throughout the area can use the tank, installed at Rochester's confined space training facility, to practice rescues in water towers, sewer systems, and other small spaces.

Doran is a full-time lieutenant at the Independence Township Fire Department, works with heavy rescue operations for the City of Rochester, and also owns his own excavating company, Doran Excavating.

The emergency response veteran started working for the Troy Fire Department in 1980 and joined the Independence Fire Department in 1989.

Clawson Tank in Clarkston helped prepare the tank structure, free of charge, for training by adding entry ways into the tank.

The tank will last for decades, and serve to train first responders in confined spaces rescue, a very technical rescue operation.

Doran said he has been lucky enough over the years to train for a variety of emergency scenarios including chemicals and explosives.

He added most fire departments have teams trained to respond to special situations. If an individual department can not properly respond, a larger unit composed of firefighters from several departments will respond to the emergency.

Doran has used his equipment in several emergencies, and often does not charge for any of his heavy rigging services.

During his 34 years of experience, Doran has had a front row seat to some very serious situations.

He was honored for his work in a standoff in 2012 when a West Bloomfield man barricaded himself inside his home. During the ordeal, the gunman shot and killed police officer Patrick O'Rourke before killing himself.

During the standoff, Doran was called to the scene. He quickly arrived on site with his 52,000 pound rig to remove the second story of the house and an exterior wall, so that police could send in cameras to see the gunman.

Although he usually does not charge for his emergency work, he decided he would charge for his work at the West Bloomfield standoff and later donated the fees to a fund set up for O'Rourke's wife and four children.

Doran said in his line of work it is important to be a team player. "If all the players did not show up and participate it would not work," he said. "Fire and rescue takes the dedication of a lot of people to make it work."

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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