Firefighters purposely burned down a hotel in the Brainerd Lakes area – for a training session.
Quarterdeck Resort on Gull Lake, near Nisswa, was already planning to demolish the two-story hotel as part of its remodeling, so the building was donated to Pillager Area Fire and Rescue to utilize for a training, Fire Chief Randy Lee told BringMeTheNews.
Before that, Pillager Area Fire and Rescue used five or six of the cabins on the resort for trainings, but it's not often firefighters have the opportunity to practice on such a big building, Lee said.
The majority of firefighters who participated were new and had never been in a burning building before, he continued. This gave them the opportunity to practice their skills, as well as search and rescue techniques.
"They got to see how fire burns, how the smoke banks down, how you don't have visibility," Lee said.
He also pointed out how beneficial it is to practice techniques in a controlled environment rather than in an actual burning building for the first time.
The 120 trainees came from 31 different departments ranging from southern to northern Minnesota, according to Lee. The building, which has been vacant for about three years, burned for 11 hours on Saturday.
The Brainerd Dispatch reported the Pillager Fire Department also partnered with Central Lakes College for the training. The school recently reopened its fire training program that educates officers for the five-county area. Some CLC students were part of the medical team that checked the vital signs of the firefighters before and after the training session.
The training was described as a networking event on the Pillager Area and Fire Rescue Facebook page.
"The brotherhood in the fire department is like no other," fire instructor Randy Roach from Mission Fire Department in Merrifield told the Brainerd Dispatch.
Overall, Lee said the training went "very well" because there were no injures and so many officers were able to participate in the training. The registration for the event was filled three weeks ahead of time, according to Pillager Area Fire and Rescue's Facebook page.
The Shakopee School District recently donated buildings to its fire department for trainings. Here's a video of one of those events taken by a drone.