Port Orange, FL – Expect a lot of firefighters in full gear around Giuseppe’s Steel City Pizza in Port Orange for the next few days.
That’s because the city’s Fire Department plans to use the restaurant’s old home on the northwest corner of Nova and Herbert for training starting this morning (March 18th).
POFD Chief Ken Fustin tells us it’s a rare opportunity for his firefighters to work on scenarios they could see in real life.
“The family [who owns] Giuseppe’s offered us the opportunity to train inside their old building prior to demolishing it,” Fustin added.
The popular restaurant has built a new two-story building on the opposite side of the lot, further away from the corner of Nova and Herbert.
POFD doesn’t plan to set the old building on fire at any point, but the department will use synthetic smoke to train first responders on how to perform various tactical and rescue operations in such a situation. The smoke they use will be machine-generated and is not harmful to people, but it will limit visibility.
Fustin says it’s a big departure from what they normally do for training.
“We have to travel all the way out to the Volusia County Fire Training facility, which is about 10 miles west of Daytona near Tiger Bay [State] Forest,” Fustin noted. “So, for us to have this type of training this close to town, we can get a lot more actual hands-on training time.”
He says that’s particularly important for his firefighters since many of them have been on the job for five years or less.
“They have very limited structural firefighting experience,” Fustin stated. “Any chance that we get to put them in a real live fire environment or a simulated environment, we take full advantage of it.”
The training is scheduled to run from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. today and tomorrow and personnel from other area fire departments may also be there to observe. Fustin tells us it’s possible that training could be extended to Wednesday.