The city pulled out support beams from the old skating rink, and after the roof collapsed firefighters "rescued" two mannequins from the debris.
Captain Dennis Thurman says the department trains regularly on the structure collapse rescues, but crews almost never get a chance to train in an actual building that's fallen down.
"You can't get much more realistic than this," he says. "One wrong move and we could potentially be injured here."
The teams call out to pinpoint a victim's location, and then shore up a pathway to pull them free. Thurman says the realistic training helps, because in a real situation it's easy for misplaced compassion to put first responders in danger.
"It's just so easy to reach in there and make the grab, and kinda put ourselves at an undue risk," he says. "We try to be professional, slow down just a little bit, take those safety precautions so that we don't become part of the problem, but we're part of the solution."
Thurman says the structure collapse exercise will help the firefighters hone their skills before going through an upper level training course next Spring.
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