The following is from the Maplewood Fire Department:
Maplewood Firefighters recently conducted training exercises at the site of the former Hilton Methodist Church, located at the corner of Tuscan Rd. and Boyden Ave. The building is scheduled for demolition to make way for new apartments. The property owner contacted the fire department and offered the use of the building for training prior to it being knocked down. Fire Chief Michael Dingelstedt saw this as a unique opportunity to conduct ladder operations and ventilation techniques and jumped at the chance.
Firefighters practiced what is known as vertical ventilation, which involves cutting holes in a roof to allow smoke and other superheated gasses to escape. This helps make it safer for interior crews to search for victims as well as locate the seat of the fire and extinguish it quickly. “Many people see firefighters cutting holes in a roof and view it as additional damage when, in reality, doing this helps limit further damage by allowing the fire to be extinguished more rapidly,” Dingelstedt said. “For obvious reasons, this isn’t something we can practice on a regular basis because it does involve a certain amount of damage.”
Firefighters used ground ladders to access a lower, relatively flat roof to cut openings. They also used the Department’s 95’ tower ladder to access the upper sections of the steeple, honing their skills using the power equipment necessary for ventilation practices.
Maplewood Firefighters will also be training at the former PSE&G site located at Springfield and Boyden Avenues from August 17-21. This training is a result of discussions held between Mayor DeLuca and the property owners at the request of Chief Dingelstedt. The owners agreed to allow the Fire Department to conduct training exercises prior to the demolition of the building. Chief Dingelstedt added, “Training in a building such as this, as well as the old church, affords the department the opportunity to conduct a variety of evolutions that we would be unable to do in occupied buildings. Ongoing training ensures that we keep up-to-date in the latest techniques and advances in firefighting and allows us to maintain the highest level of service and professionalism to those we are sworn to protect.”
Enjoy the photo gallery below. All photos courtesy of the Maplewood Fire Department.