At the end of a busy weekend of calls, Merritt Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) crews gathered for their weekly training in an alternate location on Monday, April 17. The department’s usual Monday training session took place at the former Emergency Support Services building on Coldwater Avenue, a flood-affected building soon to be removed.
The building, located at 1721 Coldwater Avenue, was formerly the home of the City of Merritt’s ESS program, serving as a point of contact for evacuees. The city-owned space also used to house the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Merritt Clubhouse. City planning officials confirmed to the Herald that the building is slated for demolition due to damaged sustained during the November 2021 flooding event.
With no official date set for the demolition of the building, MFRD crews took the opportunity to utilize the space during their weekly training.
“With our practice nights, we like to do things as real and in real time as possible,” said Assistant Chief Darrell Finnigan. “We’re fortunate to have this building that’s going to be taken away, so we were able to smoke it out, and we did a real life scenario of us hitting the hydrant and then going in as if it were on fire.”
Approximately a dozen firefighters and two crew vehicles were on scene at the building completing training exercises, with many on-call in the event of a real emergency. Firefighters of all experience levels take place in the weekly training sessions.
“We have a few new ones [firefighters] with us here tonight, and its a great experience for them,” added Finnigan. “Of course, it’s always good to brush up on skills for firefighters that have been around for a while.”
Finnigan noted that the MFRD is actively seeking paid on-call firefighters, with more information available online at www.firerescue.merritt.ca, or at the fire hall located at 1799 Nicola Avenue.