Webster Groves Fire Dept. Uses Vacant Kirk House as Training Facility

| June 19, 2012

Webster Groves firefighters in full gear carry out training exercises at the Kirk House.

While the Kirk House sits vacant on the Webster Groves campus this summer awaiting demolition, it serves a final purpose as a training facility for the Webster Groves Fire Department. Three 12-person crews of firefighters have taken turns using the building, running charged hoses around tight spaces, venting the roof, breaching walls, conducting search and rescue and other firefighting skills.

“No matter where you are in your firefighting career, practicing these skills is critical,” says Jeff Bohnert, Fire Department captain. “Typically, we get access to only one vacant house per year, and getting access to this house is very much appreciated.”

"No matter where you are in your firefighting career, practicing these skills is critical."

Bohnert says the alternative is tabletop exercises or walk-through access to functional buildings where exercises are much less hands-on, as the structures cannot be damaged or disturbed.

Facilities Operations project manager Jim Ward, approached the city offering the Kirk House for their use. “Prior to the construction of the Webster Village Apartments, we had a house set for demolition where the clubhouse now sits, and we invited the fire department to use it for training,” says Ward. “I thought it was a good opportunity for them and it’s good community relations for the University.”

Green space will replace the building’s footprint after it is torn down within the next two weeks.

View a video about the project: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T6qWDb5Fuc[/youtube].

Category: St. Louis Campus News

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