MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – New recruits for the fire department helped to tear down a building for the city, and were able to get some real-world training at the same time.
If you saw what seemed like a big fire on Withers Swash Drive today, don't worry, no one was hurt. The city actually owns that home and new firefighters had a hand in taking it down.
"It two birds with one stone, it helps us and it helps them," Lt. Jonathan Evans said.
"We were able to demolish the building, light a fire, and provide our recruits with some real fire training," Deputy Chief, Tom Gwyer said.
The city owns the home on Withers Swash Drive and came to Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue to see if it would be interested in using it for some training. With no hesitation, the answer was yes.
"We have a burn building in our training academy, but you can't simulate the real thing," Gwyer explained.
Gwyer went on to say this opportunity goes beyond helping the new recruits in fire training.
"But anytime you can acquire a structure, and not just the fire training aspect of it but when the guys were here and they were cutting holes in the roof, and breaching walls. Unfortunately that's not something they can do every day," Gwyer said.
In the late morning hours Friday, the recruits got to work.
"We're going to light it up, and let it go, and whatever is left, they are going to have a bulldozer to take down," Evans said.
"As you can see there's not a whole lot left to it, so yeah it makes clean up a whole lot easier," Gwyer added.
As for the land, it's a part of the Withers Swash Project that starts at Broadway at the Beach. While the county has plans to install a gazebo on one side of Withers Swash, from there, the city will put asphalt trails around the swash, and elevated wooden walk overs over the wetland areas.
"This land here, is going to be a continuation of the park on the other side of 3rd Avenue, so to put a park here, the structure obviously had to go," Gwyer said.
The city's goal is to eventually have trails from Broadway at the Beach... going through withers swash, over pedestrian crossovers on Kings Highway, through Family Kingdom, to the ocean and finally connecting to the boardwalk.
City officials say a bid is going out, and we can expect this project to start, over the next 45 days.
As for the fire, while the flames and smoke seemed to get high at times...the fire department had the fire all planned out with a safety officer on scene.