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Firefighters Delight in Fire Training at Mill Valley House

Department seizes rare chance to set a home ablaze several times and run drills to douse it.

After his next-door neighbor passed away in early 2012, Altamont Ave. resident Spiros Bouas bought the home, hoping to create a larger yard for his kids. But before the former home of the late Ervin Wegscheider is demolished Monday to make way for for the larger yard, firefighters from Mill Valley and throughout Marin had a field day with it last week, setting it on fire multiple times for a live fire training exercise.

Mill Valley Fire Battalion Chief Scott Barnes said the department is always on the hunt "for opportunities like this one – but they rarely come up. Fire officials said it had been as many as 7 years since the last live fire training exercise at a residence.

The Altamont Ave. home was stripped down and filled with hay and palettes. The training, which included firefighters from Marin County Fire and the Southern Marin Fire District, began with firefighters setting individual rooms ablaze and attacking them, one by one. 

The training exercise comes about 7 months after a similar but much larger-scale, multi-day operation held in June 2012 on the former campus of Edna Maguire Elementary School, which is in the midst of a full reconstruction with plans to reopen by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
os Tuesday.

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