ROCKINGHAM — Firefighters will burn down the abandoned Harrington Restaurant at 164 Brookstone Lane behind the Holiday Inn Express on Highway 74 in a training exercise from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The building was donated to the Rockingham Fire Department as a way to help the owner save on demolition costs and provide firefighters with a training ground, according to Fire Chief Harold Isler.
The Northside Volunteer Fire Department will also participate in the training.
“It helps us out and it helps (the owner),” Isler said.
He added that the owner is required to remove any asbestos in the building prior to donating it. The donation has to be approved by the state.
In a Facebook post last week, Isler said that there will be “moderate to heavy smoke for several miles” and flames will be visible in the area.
“(T)there will be no need to call 911 regarding these conditions in this area as they will be as a result of this controlled training burn,” he said.
The burn will continue as planned, “rain, sleet or snow,” Isler said.
Getting the opportunity for live fire training is fairly rare. Four buildings have been donated to the fire department for controlled burns in Isler’s three-year tenure.
The building has two floors plus a basement, totaling 10,000 square feet. The pool house, which will also be burned down, is 1,600 square feet, according to Isler.
Fire fighters went to the location this week to simulate rescuing someone being trapped by cutting ventilation holes in the roof and forcing doors open. Isler said that the training exercise on Saturday will focus on exterior fire training, such as practicing setting up the water pumps and keeping the fire from spreading into the surrounding woods.
Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact the fire department at 910-997-4002.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.