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Firefighters train at Sacramento hotel scheduled for demolition

Video: Sacramento firefighters smash, cut up old hotel for training

The old Sacramento Inn and Suites is headed for demolition -- but until then it is a training ground for firefighters. Sacramento Fire Department probationary firefighters are using the old hotel to smash windows, cut open roofs with chain saws an
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The old Sacramento Inn and Suites is headed for demolition -- but until then it is a training ground for firefighters. Sacramento Fire Department probationary firefighters are using the old hotel to smash windows, cut open roofs with chain saws an

The old Sacramento Inn and Suites was a training ground for firefighters this week before the hotel’s scheduled demolition Friday.

Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Chris Harvey called it a treat because firefighters typically train and role play with props that they aren’t allowed to destroy.

“One of our skills that we have to practice a lot is forcing down doors,” Harvey said. “For us, a hotel is a real prize.”

The former hotel next to Arden Fair mall opened in the 1950s and has more than 300 doors, according to Harvey.

City officials closed down the hotel at 1401 Arden Way earlier this year, saying the property was rife with drugs, armed robbery and prostitution. The city attorney’s office settled a public nuisance lawsuit against defendants connected with the hotel.

In a video posted to Facebook by the fire department on Tuesday, firefighters are seen cutting through the roof with chain saws and rolling out hoses. In addition, Harvey said they also trained using smoke machines, but no live fire was set.

“When we have a building that’s going to be demolished, we can just do whatever we want,” he said. “It’s more realistic.”

Fire officials got permission from the building owner before the exercises this week. Firefighters also trained in Downtown Plaza last year before part of it was bulldozed to make way for the new Kings arena, Harvey said.

About 70 firefighters participated in the training, which concluded Tuesday, including many new firefighters who are being tested as part of their one-year anniversary with the agency, Harvey said.

Bee staff writer Bill Lindelof contributed to this report.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

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