State firefighters use former Eveleth hotel for "Burn to Learn" - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

State firefighters use former Eveleth hotel for "Burn to Learn" training

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The former Days Inn in Eveleth is set for demolition this fall, but for the time being, it's being intentionally set on fire.

"We don't get this many opportunities very frequently." 

Regional fire departments have been using the building as a training facility.

They have intentionally been setting fire to rooms in the over 124,000 square foot building.

All of the fires are controlled, and it's all to educate our regions firefighters, and make them better. 

"We don't have a lot of fire calls out in Embarrass, so this amount of fire in this week has been outstanding and it's been a really cool learning opportunity for me," said Embarrass firefighter Robby Peterson. 

On Saturday, those learning opportunities included how to investigate the cause of a fire, if an accelerant was used, and much more.

"We wanted to see how things burn, to get to the cause and origin of the fire. So, we kind of take turns, and challenge the investigators. The firefighters [also] get a chance to see some different fire behaviors, and use some different tactics," said Virginia fire marshal Chris Clark. 

The site has been used for training for over a month now, and has brought together fire departments from all over the state, as well as state and federal fire investigators. 

"They showed me a lot of cool things yesterday (Friday) that I could apply when I'm on fire scenes that I've never seen before, and they work really well," said Peterson.  

With advancements in technology, more fires start from failing computers, laptops and more, which makes this type of training crucial. 

"We're not always just looking for that failure, but if there's a problem with a device or an appliance, or maybe how something was constructed, we might be able to identify that, out in the field and get that to other folks or manufactures and try to snuff that, or identify that problem before it starts," said Clark. 

The former hotel was tax forfeited, and is set for demolition this fall.

?A county official said the hotel was severely damaged from years of neglect and the cost of restoration was too great. 

After the demolition, Eveleth plans to work with the county to develop the 7 acre site. 

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