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Ben GodarThere was something unusual about a...

Ben Godar

There was something unusual about a recent blaze that Burbank

firefighters extinguished -- they set it themselves.

Abandoned buildings at 217 and 219 Angeleno Ave. were burned


Saturday to give firefighters a chance to practice under real

conditions. The buildings across from the Promenade Apartments were

scheduled for demolition and cleared of dangerous material such as

asbestos before the fire, Capt. Ron Bell said.


Several fires of various sizes were set to give the firefighters

an opportunity to watch how the smoke develops and how the flames

creep into the walls. Crews also practiced identifying the type of

fire based on what type of smoke is produced.

The exercises were also filmed to be used as training videos, Bell


Fire Marshal Dave Starr said full-scale exercises like Saturday’s

allow them to do much more than they can in a traditional training



“It’s extremely valuable because we can actually see real

conditions and watch it develop,” he said.

It’s rare that fire officials get the opportunity to practice on a

real building. Private property owners are generally hesitant to

donate condemned buildings to be burned because of concerns about

liability, Bell said.

“This is the second one we’ve done this year, but sometimes we go


years without being able to do it,” he said.