Old Duluth Building Goes Up in Smoke for Firefighter Training

Updated: 03/14/2014 4:41 PM
Created: 03/14/2014 4:15 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

It's a real-life situation.

"Crews are going to be inside and looking for possible victims inside the muffler shop. They'll be looking for employees and customers," said Mike Consie, Training Chief for the Duluth Fire Department.

The smoke is thick, making for zero-visibility inside the shop.

"Anytime we get in structures and we have diminished visibility, we have to use other tools and skills. That is extremely important," explained Consie.

Luckily, here, the victims are only training dummies, and the smoke is from straw. The Duluth Fire Department trains every single day, but not usually inside smoky buildings.

The old Midas building on Central Entrance was bought by Members Cooperative Credit Union, but before they demolish the building to make room for their new branch, they offered it up to the department for training.

Over three days, 130 firefighters searched through the smoke.

"Everything [we do on scene], time is of the utmost importance so we are rushing through trying to get things done as quickly as we can. Here, it is a nice scenario, kind of  like a classroom," said Duluth Fire Department Captain Corey Swartout.

Consie said the Duluth Fire Department has done four different training exercises in old buildings over the past eight months, but this is their first live-smoke drill.

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