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Soon-to-be-razed buildings offer firefighters rare training opportunity

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 18:48:09-04

Three buildings at the Bentley Village retirement community will soon be razed and replaced with new apartments - but first they're giving North Collier firefighters a chance they don't get very often.

"We got to take this awesome facility and got to do real live fire tactics," said Lt. Brian Torres of North Collier Fire-Rescue's training division. 

"We can train a lot in our training towers...but when you get inside a location you're unfamiliar with, that's when the real challenges start," he added.

Tuesday's challenge was a simulated kitchen fire in a third floor apartment. Firefighters use a machine that creates a mist to simulate the poor visibility from smoke.

"Not all the time do you see heavy flames," Torres said. "Most of the time, they see a coating of smoke prior to (any flames.)"

Torres said firefighters have to make a quick decision: whether or not any people that might be trapped inside are in immediate danger.

"If not, then we'll do a quick fire attack," he said. "As soon as the fire stops, then the hazards start to slow down and stop themselves."

Firefighters plan to continue exercises at the buildings through the week. The buildings are slated for demolition in late June to make way for a new independent living apartment building with 51 new apartments.