Duluth Fire Department takes advantage of unique training opportunity

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The former Seaway Hotel is serving as a temporary training facility for the Duluth Fire Department before it is torn down next month.

“It’s a pretty unique opportunity for us to get a building this big,” said firefighter and training instructor Damon Laurion. “It’s a multifamily dwelling with over 80 rooms, so it’s got 120 foot long hallways and a lot of different internal stairwells. It’s kind of like a big maze inside there.”

It’s maze-like structure allows the firefighter to conduct various fire attack scenarios that they don’t usually have the opportunity to try, but will be beneficial for the next large building fire they face.

"This building is similar to what we encountered when the Kozy building burned and we’re able to take the lessons from the Kozy fire and apply it to this training,” said Laurion. “Then on the next go around, we’re more efficient."

Laurion also said that the Fire Department have removed a couple of fire fighters from rotation to serve as instructors to ensure that the department can make full use of this training opportunity while it’s available.

“Every company in the city is going to get to go through it. We’ve got folks that started Monday all the way to folks with 25 years’ experience,” he said. “The end result is getting them more efficient on what we’re supposed to be doing on a fire response.”