When fire science instructor Kurt Donaldson pushes certain buttons at Clatsop Community College’s Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station near Astoria, flames shoot up from the floor or race across the ceiling of the room. But, if students respond correctly, the flames go out — it’s all part of a realistic training experience. The highly controlled environment is computerized, with a series of sensors that can shut the entire facility off if something were to go awry. Several of the rooms are designed to closely resemble the interior of a ship.

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