Farmhouse at Sixth Street and Queens Road to provide unique opportunity for firefighter training

By Libby Stanford
Lawrence Journal World – May 18, 2018

Photo by Chad Lawhorn

An old farmhouse will be put to new use as a rare training opportunity for firefighters on Saturday.

The event will begin with refresher training on Saturday morning and move into dramatic real-life scenarios throughout the day.

The farmhouse, located at the southeast intersection of Sixth Street and Queens Road, proved to be a unique space for the training, said Dennis Snodgrass, chief of the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department, who organized the event. The house has features, like a basement and multiple stories, that aren’t generally found in other training facilities.

The house will be smoked out to simulate realistic conditions. Firefighters will be trained on basement extrication, second-story window extrication and rescuing downed firefighters.

“[The house] gives us the opportunity to breach walls and take people out,” Snodgrass said. “We’ll have entanglement props. We’ll have low-profile props. We’re going to have a lot of different scenarios that will test the ability of the team to do what they need to do.”

The Douglas County Rapid Intervention Team is hosting and participating in the event. They are a group dedicated to saving firefighters in danger. Most firefighter training facilities have only one entrance and exit. The farmhouse provides the rare opportunity to get in and get out using multiple techniques.

“We’ll cut walls, we’ll cut windows in the doorways. We basically destroy stuff to get in and out as quickly as we can,” said Snodgrass, who is the founder of the Douglas County Rapid Intervention Team. “It’s just an incredible opportunity for us because we can actually train the way that we would actually work on the scene.”

The farmhouse has had renovations and additions over the years that add to its uniqueness, Snodgrass said.

“Those are things that we run into out in the county all the time,” he said. “People have done additions, and we go to breach a wall that turns out to be a brick wall on the inside. This house is going to give us some very realistic training opportunities. That is absolutely invaluable to what we do.”

What’s left of the farmhouse will be demolished after the training, and upscale townhomes will be built on the property. The training was a “unique opportunity” because the farmhouse needs to be demolished anyway, said Robert Wilson, the Lawrence businessman who owns the property.

“The demolition of the property isn’t just a demolition,” Snodgrass said. “It’s actually contributing to the safety of the public and the firefighters by allowing the training to be done on it.”

Wakarusa Township Fire Department, Clinton Township Fire Department, Baldwin City Fire Department and the Willow Springs Fire Department will be participating in the training.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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