2018-05-14 / Local

Firefighters burn building as part of training exercise

BY JOHN SWINCONECK
Times Record Staff


LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS participate in a controlled burn Saturday in Bath. 
JOHN SWINCONECK / THE TIMESRECORD LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS participate in a controlled burn Saturday in Bath. JOHN SWINCONECK / THE TIMESRECORD BATH

The building at 8 State Road in Bath was destroyed in a fire that was intentionally set on Saturday.

The culprit? Local firefighters who were honing their life-saving skills.

Firefighters from communities including Bath, West Bath, Arrowsic, Topsham and Woolwich participated in the exercise.

Bath Fire Chief Lawrence Renaud said firefighters conducted five or six interior burn exercises before allowing the structure to burn to the ground.

“It gives our guys hose line experience, pump operations — it’s hard to simulate that in a classroom or a training site,” Renaud said. “It takes a lot of preparation and research, and a lot of fire department and community commitment.”

Winds carried thick smoke across the street and as far as the Shaw’s supermarket parking lot, and the smell of smoke could be detected inside the store briefly.

“ The weather never seems to want to cooperate,” Renaud said.

The single-story, structure, close to the Route 1 on-ramp, had previously housed the Bath Bus Company and, prior to that, the offices of an oil company. It had been on the market and was recently purchased.

It is not uncommon for a property owner to allow the fire department to burn a structure that would otherwise be demolished.

However, Renaud said the exercise was the first of its kind to be conducted in the city in about 20 years.

“We don’t get this opportunity often,” the chief said, because most structures in Bath offered to the department for a controlled burn are in congested areas.

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