Local firefighters got a chance to practice their skills by helping Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 with the destruction of the former Wellington restaurant and banquet hall in Arlington Heights.
Earlier this year, District 59 purchased the property, which is adjacent to the district's Administration Center, because of a need for more space. After the administration determined that reusing the existing structure was impractical, the school board voted to demolish the building.
Tony Rossi, director of Buildings and Grounds for District 59 and a volunteer firefighter for the Mount Prospect Fire Department, arranged for local municipalities to use the vacant building as a practice facility, the district said in a news release.
"These opportunities do not present themselves often. Having a commercial facility provides some invaluable training options," Rossi said in the release.
"The Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect Fire Departments were recently able to run real-time evolutions, which included search and rescue, RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) drills, forcible entry and venting of roofing systems. Some of these were run as multi-department drills, with both departments working together, which is common on larger scale incidents."
Battalion Cmdr. Tom Zerfass of the Arlington Heights Fire Department said he appreciated the chance for his team to take advantage of the Wellington as a unique learning environment.
On Monday, the district began razing the structure.