Firefighters take down Juneau landmark for training session

November 26, 2018
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In this photo taken Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, the Thane Ore House burns during a live fire training exercise in Juneau, Alaska. A firefighting training exercise has taken down a Juneau landmark. The Juneau Empire reports members of the Capital City Fire Department on Saturday burned the building that had housed the Thane Ore House. The restaurant building was constructed in 1982. The last business in the building closed in 2012. (Nolin Ainsworth/The Juneau Empire via AP)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A landmark Juneau building has disappeared after giving firefighters a chance to practice their skills.

The Thane Ore House, a former restaurant that was unoccupied for six years, went up in flames Saturday as volunteer and staff firefighters with Capital City Fire/Rescue practiced hose techniques and other skills, the Juneau Empire reported .

About 20 volunteer and staff firefighters participated. They lit controlled burns and extinguished the fires.

“Gets these guys a chance to get in the smoke and the heat of a fire,” Assistant Chief Tod Chambers said. “Think of the military. They try to simulate battle conditions before they go into battle because the last thing you want to do is throw someone into a gunfight before they’ve had anything similar to that. So we try to do the same thing with fire operations.”

Beau Sylte became a volunteer firefighter a year ago and has responded to five or six fires. They weren’t as large as the controlled burn. He called the training invaluable and said his biggest takeaway was “learning to maneuver and manipulate the hose line.”

“It’s an incredibly highly-charged device — lots of PSI (pounds per square inch) of water,” Sylte said. “It takes a whole team to be able to successfully move it through a burning structure.”

Flames rose 80 feet (24 meters) as large swaths of the building caught fire. One of those watching from the highway was Gillian Hayes, 62, who danced as part of a sing-along show, the “Gold Nugget Revue,” at the restaurant after it was built in 1982. The show told the story of Juneau’s founding.

The restaurant closed in 2012. The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska was awarded a 35-year land lease for the property. The organization plans to construct a cultural immersion park at the site.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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