GJFD concerned about lack of house donations for fire training

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. When a smoke detector goes off, you call 911 and expect a team of highly-trained experts to rush to your rescue saving your family and your home.

But that training can be hard to arrange especially this year as Grand Junction Fire Department officials said they haven't had any house donations.

It might sound odd, but people can donate a home to be burned down to give firefighters first hand experience in dealing with house fires, but a lack of donations is sparking a problem.

Up until a few year ago the Grand Junction Fire Department got a couple calls a month from people willing to donate their houses for training purposes, but it's a different story now and Training Officer Mike Gazdak blames the weak economy.

"There's less development in the area and fewer people are looking to demolish homes to make room on their property," Gazdak.

The problem is heated up by the fact that the homes need to meet a long list of safety criteria and many of those offered up have to be rejected.

"Too close to power lines, too close to other houses, fences, smoke issues with neighbors, busy traffic intersections," Gazdak.

Officials need three donations this year for trainings at the end of Spring and beginning of Fall. Trainings that are vital for the best possible response when firefighters are faced with real life situations.

The ideal house would be in a rural or isolated area to maintain safety and prevent unwanted fires.

Another thing to note is each house has to go through an asbestos survey from a recognized company and if there is a problem it needs to be fixed before they can do the burn.

If you are interested in donating your house call 549-5871 to see if your house will meet the criteria.

Read the original version of this article at www.nbc11news.com.

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