MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University’s Carey Hall will be put to productive use before its scheduled demolition this summer. NMU has made the defunct building available to the City of Marquette Fire Department for live fire training, beginning the first week of June and continuing for about four weeks. Smoke will be visible during isolated periods.
“Seldom does an opportunity like this present itself,” said Fire Chief Tom Belt. “It’s a mostly non-combustible brick building, so it’s perfect for training because we can simulate vigorously burning room and contents-type fires without worrying about it spreading. This is a unique opportunity to engage in a variety of firefighting skills under real conditions. We will not only practice extinguishment, but also forcible entry, ventilation, salvage, overhaul and search and rescue with dummies. We are grateful to Northern Michigan University for creating this great opportunity to hone our skills.”
Lee Gould, occupational and environmental health specialist with NMU Public Safety and Police Services, said some restrictions were put in place to protect adjoining Lee Hall. The Marquette Fire Department has installed a containment system in the middle of the corridors to keep the single-room fires from spreading and burning will be limited to the wing facing Cohodas, which is farthest away from Lee Hall.
“When we realized there was a window of opportunity between the hazardous material abatement of Carey and its demolition, Northern and the fire department worked together to make this happen,” said Gould. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the entire department to conduct very realistic training in a building of this nature. And practicing there could be valuable when responding to an actual fire in the future because Carey is similar to a residence hall and several other buildings on campus and in the community.”
Site preparation work for the Carey Hall demotion is scheduled to begin later in June.