Houses in Cricklade that are earmarked for demolition are to be used by local firefighters for training over the next few weeks.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is working with GreenSquare Group to access the properties in White Horse Road at Culverhay for exercises in search and rescue, use of breathing apparatus and working at height.
It is anticipated that crews from Cricklade, Malmesbury, Stratton, Swindon, Westlea, Royal Wootton Bassett, Ramsbury and Marlborough will be able to make use of the houses before they are demolished.
Watch Manager Dean Hoskins from Stratton fire station, who is organising the training, said: “We have facilities on station and at our training & development centre in Devizes to keep our skills fresh; however, being able to use these houses will be an even better test for firefighters, as we will come across the challenges and complexities that we could face every time we go to a real fire in someone’s home.”
He added: “We are grateful to GreenSquare for giving us this access, which will be of great benefit to fire crews across north Wiltshire and Swindon.”
GreenSquare’s regeneration plans for Culverhay include proposals to demolish 65 older properties and replace them with 109 new energy efficient, comfortable homes for shared ownership, affordable rent and outright sale.
Corrina Johnson, GreenSquare’s Senior Development Project Manager, said: “As part of the first phase of our regeneration plans, several households have now moved out of their properties, leaving them unoccupied in readiness for demolition.
“We thought it would be a good idea to make the most of the houses while they’re empty and we’re happy to be able to help the fire crews to conduct some realistic safety critical training.
“We’ve warned local residents not to be alarmed if they see firefighters running in and out of the houses over the coming weeks!”