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Photos: Conn. FFs get ‘hands on’ former restaurant for training

Vernon firefighters trained on search, hoselines and ventilation at a restaurant before demolition

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Town of Vernon Fire Department/Facebook

Journal Inquirer

VERNON, Conn. — “It’s rare that we get an opportunity to train on an actual home where everything is mostly intact,” he said.

Firefighters were able to exercise their ability to ventilate roofs, stretch hose lines, and practice search and rescue techniques inside the building.

“That kind of training is invaluable to give the members the skills they need in a lifelike environment as opposed to a training prop,” Wasilewski said.

Traditional training, he said, is far more controlled and repetitive, and often leads to firefighters memorizing the layout of a training facility. The former Poncho Loco site was less familiar, particularly with smoke filling the building to simulate a house fire.

Wasilewski and Economic and Community Development Coordinator Shaun Gately both thanked the new owner of the property for allowing the Vernon Fire Department to conduct its training before the former restaurant was demolished.

“We appreciate the owner’s willingness to do some training,” Gately said. “When you’re demolishing a structure, it’s the perfect time to do that.”

The property’s new owner, who owns the adjacent Lazy Liquors, is planning to open a roughly 20,000-square-foot commercial building on the two properties.

The town has approved the project, but it has hit a slight snag as a neighbor has appealed the town’s approval in court over concerns about the impact to their property, Gately said.

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