By Andrea Cordle
Richard Avenue Elementary School sits vacant. It has been cleared out and is ready for demolition.
Emergency personnel with the Jackson Township Division of Fire saw this as an excellent opportunity.
Firefighters have been using the school as a training facility. They will hold as many sessions as they can until the school is demolished.
According to Capt. Shawn Quincel, with Jackson Township, the firefighters were able to get much needed training in forcible entry.
Richard Avenue Elementary School was built in 1957. Quincel said the doors are solid wood, encased in a metal frame. Firefighters were able to train in breaking through strong doors.
“We don’t have an opportunity like this very often,” said Quincel. “We are thankful the school district allowed us to do this.”
The fire captain said this type of forcible entry training would help in the event of a fire at a commercial building or school, where people were trapped inside.
“Search and rescue training can be done at our fire house, but the opportunity to train like this is not something that happens often,” said Quincel. “This benefits everyone. If we can go into this building, we can go into any building or any home.”
The firefighters were also able to practice on their aerial ladder to simulate a roof rescue.
Sandy Nekoloff, the executive director of communication for the South-Western City Schools District, said the township approached the district about the training opportunity and the district was happy to help.
“It has been a great partnership,” said Nekoloff. “We understand our safety forces are anxious for extra training and ultimately, it benefits our students.”
Richard Avenue Elementary School is set for demolition sometime in January. The new Richard Avenue Elementary will be built on the current site.
This project is part of the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission project to build 13 new elementary schools within the district. The project will also renovate two schools and replace one high school.
Richard Avenue students are using the old Monterey Elementary School building until the new school is up and running.