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Local Church Donates Dilapidated Buildings to Sac Metro Fire for Training

SACRAMENTO -- Normally, seeing a building on fire would be cause for concern.

But the pastor of St. George Melkite-Greek Catholic Church, Hezekias Carnazzo, says the flames were a welcomed sight.

"Oh, it's kind of exciting. We've got some of the parishioners here, some of the kids seeing it happen," Carnazzo said. "It's very expensive to demolish a building these days and they're doing a big favor for us."

The church donated several dilapidated buildings on their property to Sacramento Metro firefighters for training.

"What we're going to do is set several fires inside one of the buildings and rotate our crews through to perform all of the core functions that we perform on a structure fire," said Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Captain Chis Vestal explained.

Firefighters suited up in full gear and set fire to different rooms in the old houses before rushing in to put the flames out.

Officials say the ability to use live fire in training helps them better prepare when they respond to emergencies.

"With live fire, we get to see how our water actually affects flames, how it affects the seat of the fire, how different nozzle patterns and different application techniques. It can actually improve the conditions or have different effects," Vestal said.

The crews are also practicing some of the other techniques they use when responding to structure fires.

"And when we get to the real incident, it becomes more natural and it becomes something that becomes just second nature for us," Vestal said.

It's a partnership that helps our local firefighters be better prepared and gives back to the community at the same time.

"It was kind of dilapidated and so forth but now it's going to be rejuvenated, not just for our small community, but for the whole Sacramento region," Carnazzo said.