A live training burn was conducted Sunday in downtown Southern Pines. An abandoned structure located at 144 W. Pennsylvania Avenue was the target of this exercise. Traffic was detoured and the scheduling of the burn was chosen for the safety of the community.
The goal of the burn is to give local firefighters training especially in a downtown area where there is a real concern for damage and loss of life because of the threat of flames spreading to nearby structures. In addition, it gave rookie firefighters front line experience. Sunday morning, before the exercise started, a safety briefing was conducted and all the participating fire departments gathered in a circle to pray.
Along with Southern Pines Fire & Rescue, Aberdeen Fire & Rescue, Pinehurst Fire Department, Whispering Pines Fire Rescue, and Cypress Pointe Fire & Rescue participated in the exercise with West End Fire & Rescue providing a mobile air unit vehicle.
The abandoned house was prepared for the training burn by removing trees and brush on Friday. When it was time to start the fire, firefighters spread hay throughout the house to ignite the blaze. The empty property is supposed to host a new 23,000 square-foot mixed use building like the Belvedere Hotel courtyard.