The Summit Fire Authority wants to burn down your house |

The Summit Fire Authority wants to burn down your house

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily file photo

SUMMIT COUNTY ” The adage practice makes perfect is especially true in firefighting, and the best training available for local fire crews comes in the form of live fire exercises ” better described as fighting a fire that’s burning in an actual building.

But, for a controlled structure burn to happen, the fire department needs community members to step up and donate a house, condo or retail business that’s already planned for demolition.

That hasn’t happened yet this year.

Therefore, the Summit Fire Authority is looking to business owners and local residents that will be conducting to-the-ground remodeling for assistance in locating a suitable structure that the local fire departments can burn.

“There is nothing that replaces the benefits of live fire training,” said Capt. Paul Kuhn, director of the High Country Training Center. “While the fire departments routinely run drills together and work in controlled propane-generated fires at the Training Center, the opportunity to test skills, firefighting tactics and strategies in a real structure, developing fire training scenarios cannot be emphasized enough.”

Last year, local fire crews torched a set of seven old cabins on 8th Avenue and Highway 9 in Frisco on a piece of land slated for redevelopment. The year before, firefighters burned a house on 4th Avenue across from the Rocky Mountain Bible Church in Frisco.

The Training Center attempts to organize a live fire every year during the slower months like April or May in the spring or September or October in the fall, Kuhn said.

“I wouldn’t mind doing it more just because it’s such great training,” he added.

Per the National Fire Protection Association Code, there are general requirements for a homeowner who wishes to provide a training ground for firefighters.

Written authorization for both the training and the burn are required from the owner, and the Training Center needs to verify the building’s structural integrity and remove any hazardous conditions. Also, there needs to be appropriate notification to neighbors prior to the training. All of the pre-qualification details can be handled between the Training Center and the owner, according to a Summit Fire Authority press release.

The homeowner won’t face any additional fees beyond the normal demolition costs, such as paying for an asbestos test, Kuhn said.

People might even save money when it comes to hiring a truck to haul off debris because they’ll be left with about one-third the slash than if they demolished the building on their own.

For any inquiries or additional information, please contact Capt. Paul Kuhn, High Country Training Center, at or call the Center at (970) 668-4330.

Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at

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