SOS next best to the real thing | PICTURES

Click or flick across for more photos from the exercise. 

A WEST Albury family were saved from their smoke-filled home last night, after a car crashed outside and went up in flames.

That was the scenario firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW Albury Civic and Thurgoona RFS faced in a training exercise closer to real life than usual.

Crews had the chance to use a house in Fellowes Crescent — owned by Albury Civic firefighter Daniel Castley and due to be demolished this week — for the exercise at 6.30pm.

“I thought we’d make use of the house before it went,” Mr Castley said, before the chaos.

“It’s not every day we can train in a house.

“Generally the only time we go in one is for the real-life situation so this is good practice.”

Neighbours — including several children keen to see the fire trucks in action — watched as the house filled with smoke from a smoke machine, and an unclaimed car from the council’s impound lot was set alight.

The two crews arrived quickly, dousing the flames before rescuing the “car driver” and saving “the family” inside the home.

Albury Civic captain John Van de Ven said it was the perfect scenario to get the two services together and further develop their relationship.

“The beauty of a drill like this is we can then sit down and talk about what we did well, what we can improve on and how we can improve on working together,” he said.

“The RFS do more bushfires but they are equipped for housefires, so we want to make sure that, if this situation arises, we can use them.

“It’s also good for our blokes to hone their skills.”