Boise State has been working with city fire department officials to secure an old campus building for live fire training and exercises, scheduled to occur Nov. 10 and 11.
“Over last couple years we’ve had an ongoing relationship [with the Boise Fire Department]. They get benefit of training, and we get the benefit of a reduced cost of taking down a building. It’s simply a win-win,” said Breck Skinner, assistant risk manager of Boise’s States Office of Risk Management and Insurance.
Lincoln Hall, located across the street from the Lincoln Parking Garage, has been slated for demolition for some time. Working in conjunction with the fire department, Boise State offered the building as grounds for live fire training earlier this school year. However, due to the poor air quality and a citywide burn ban enacted because of the summertime fires, the training was indefinitely postponed.
“With the air being clear now, the smoke will rise and dissipate before it gets far, said Skinner.
By allowing Boise Fire Department to burn Lincoln Hall, Boise State does not have to contract an external company for the demolition or cleanup, and the fire department can experience training on campus that they would not have had access to otherwise.
“It shows the cooperation between Boise Fire Department and the relationship with BSU to do whatever we can to get as much training as possible. Should something happen, God forbid, in one of the dorms, we’d be prepared,” said Skinner.
Boise Fire Department spent some time this past summer practicing fire drills in Towers Hall, calling out rescue teams and utilizing fake smoke to simulate the reality of fires on campus.
Both the fire department and Boise State must comply with regulations to ensure student and firefighter safety. During the burn, Lincoln Hall will not be accessible to the public as a safety precaution. This includes parking in the lot immediately adjacent to the building. The fire department asks that bystanders please respect the perimeter and watch from a safe distance to protect passersby as well as firefighters.
“When we do train with live fires, it’s serious matter. Anytime we set something on fire its dangerous for us,” comments Capt. Mike Walker, Boise Fire Department training officer.
The actual burn process will span over two days, each entailing different types of training. Day one will include a cluster of small live fires that do little damage to the structure of the building; on day two, the fire department will set Lincoln Hall ablaze. In order to ensure maximum security, he fire department will utilize wood pallets and straw to light these fires.
After the demolition, Boise State’s Facilities Operations and Management will clear the ash from the lot.
Although the burn will be relatively small and contained, the demolition date has been changed twice in order to keep the air clear of smoke and the ensure campus safety, meaning it must take place on a weekend when there is little to no activity on campus, including home football games. Should it need to be rescheduled again, the event would likely take place during winter break.
Architect and Engineering Services on campus have plans for the empty lot, possibly including construction of a park, campus housing, or parking.