Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department Training at Former Horizon Outlet Mall

The inside of the old Horizon Outlet Mall in Traverse City is being torn down by firefighters for training purposes.

Grand Traverse Metro firefighters have ten days to train, which means they’re taking every chance they can to get into the building

“We have one of those extraordinary opportunities where we’ve been given a commercial building and we pretty much have the green light to destroy it,” said Chief Parker, Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department.

Since the former Horizon Outlet Mall is slated to be torn down to make way for a 14-screen multiplex movie theater, the owners have given the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department the green light to use it to practice their firefighting skills.

“We’re actually going to open up the roof here in many spots. We don’t get a chance to do that so often were working on wood and shingle roofs. This is metal roof so it’s going to be like opening up a tin can. It’s gonna be a little more work for the truck companies but great opportunity for us,” said Chief Parker.

Some of the training includes breaking through walls to practice a quick getaway, if it needed to be done in the future, but that’s not all they’re training for.

“Today, we’re working on the alarm and sprinkler systems so our firefighters get an opportunity to see how sprinkler systems work , how the alarms work, how the risers work, all the valving,” said Chief Parker.

It’s a valuable opportunity for all of their firefighters whose time of service ranges from two months to 20 years.

“You’re seeing a lot of smiles on our firefighters, so they are learning but they’re also having a lot of fun and when you have fun when you train, you remember that,” said Chief Parker.

Next week, the building will be lit on fire for more real-world firefighter training and expect to wrap it all up next week as well.