Building’s last use: Fire drills

ckrotzer@theolympian.comDecember 4, 2012 

Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater firefighters will train this week on an old Capitol Campus building set to be demolished.

Fire crews will cut the roof and force their way through doors of the IBM building on the northwest corner of Maple Park Avenue and Capitol Way.

The 14,200-square-foot, two-story building was constructed in 1958 for the IBM Corp., said Jim Erskine, communications consultant with the Department of Enterprise Services.

The state purchased the building in 1975, and it housed the state’s Employment Security Department employees until February 2011 when staff was moved to a building off 10th Avenue and Columbia Street.

Crews from Correctional Industries, an offender work training program managed by the state Department of Corrections, removed windows, carpets and hazardous materials from the building, Erskine said.

The building will be demolished following the fire training, Erskine said. The demolition will cost $258,000 and will be finished by January 2013.

“The state is a really good community partner in that they called us up and offered to train on the building before they tore it down,” said Pat Dale, assistant fire chief with the Olympia Fire Department.

Dale said firefighters from the three agencies will practice the skills they learn at the fire department’s new training center off Fones Road.

Crews will focus on opening the roof with chain saws, as well as forcing their way through the doors of the building.

“It’s the destructive training on the building that we only get to do when an owner offers us that opportunity,” Dale said. “People might see us on top of this thing and a lot of engines parked around it and the big ladder truck.”

Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 @chelseakrotzer

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