By: Lauren Fabrizi
Lincoln Fire and Rescue firefighters underwent training at a vacated building on the grounds of the Gateway Mall Wednesday.
The GreenTree Court building across from JC Penney is empty and will be demolished next month. In the meantime, it serves as a site for technical rescue and firefighting drills.
"Coming here to this building gives us the opportunity to prove our skills, to practice," fire trainer Jamie Pospisil said. "Also, it allows us to drill with new recruits."
About 70 firefighters underwent the elevator rescue training. One firefighter was hoisted down the from the 4th floor of the elevator to the bottom, so he could retrieve the dummy and safely remove it from the elevator car.
Gateway Mall representatives said the vacated building is the perfect spot for training like this.
"I don't think there would be opportunities of a building of this size to be able to have more of a real time experience for that use," Ryan Bouc of the Gateway Mall said. "So we thought it would be a good idea."
The drills will continue the next two days at the GreenTree Court building and will include forced entry and firefighter rescue training among other drills.
Fire officials said the crews feel more prepared after completing the drills.
"When we're confident in our skills, we're much faster, and more safe and efficient in providing rescue services to the city of Lincoln," Pospisil said.
Gateway Mall representatives said the vacated building is expected to be demolished in a few weeks. They said they're still deciding what to do with the extra space.