The building, located on the corner of D St. and Third St. wasincinerated as a ?training burn? for the local Cheney FireDepartment.
The training started around 9 a.m. with small fires placed insome of the upstairs rooms. It then was the job of both paid andvolunteer firefighters to put blazes out.
Once the objective was completed, more fires were set forfirefighters to extinguish.
This went on for roughly three hours until the fire departmentdecided to finish the job and demolish the structure in a flurry ofheat and smoke.
Once the fire was relatively contained, the firefighterscelebrated a ?practice run? well done and spent their downtimeeating pizza from Rosa?s Pizza, while some others had to speed offto take care of an actual fire.
?We do this every few years or whenever the opportunity presentsitself,? said Mike Ault, Cheney firefighter and organizer of thefire. He followed by saying that the event was a great success.
?It?s live; it?s uncontrolled; it?s hot; its unpredictable,?said Auld, then added ?It?s the best training bar none.?
Formerly a house, which was later converted to a set ofapartments, the building was purchased in 1998 by Dick Phenneger,owner of EWU Beta Housing. According to Phenneger, the building gota ?bad rap? over the years as its windows were boarded up, givingit an unsavory appearance to neighbors. He donated the building tothe fire department as an alternative to tearing it down.
Despite the fire department picking up the tab for demolitionservices, for environmental purposes, electrical wiring, gas setupsand nearby trees had to be eliminatated for the burning to takeplace. This cost Phenneger between $4000-$5000 which was all rightwith him as he believed it was a ?good training experience? forfirefighters.
After the lot is cleared of the scorched debris, Phenneger hopesexpand the structure of a next-door fraternity or nearbysorority.