By Olivia Drake, HVFC
The 1860s-era Leverett-Spencer house located at 140 Dublin Hill Road will be demolished this month, however, it provided a rare training opportunity for Haddam firefighters before it is razed.
“Although we have a training facility, there’s nothing like having an actual house for our members to practice on and develop their skills,” said Haddam Volunteer Fire Company Chief Sam Baber.
The structure, which is beyond repair, is owned by Higganum resident and architect Timothy Brewer. Brewer, who also designed Haddam Fire’s Station One, reached out to the fire company in August, asking if members would have any interest in using it for training before it would be demolished.
HVFC officers jumped on the offer.
On Sept. 16, and again on Sept. 20, HVFC firefighters conducted three-hour-long drills at the house, where they practiced hose advancement, search and rescue, ladders, and roof venting.
They also learned about general building construction. Officers pointed out the home’s “balloon frame” timber construction popular in the 19th century.
“If a fire starts in the furnace in the basement, it will quickly travel up the walls, through the ceiling, and into the attic. There are no stops in the stud base to slow the fire,” Baber explained. “And that’s why homes aren’t built like this anymore.”
Brewer, who watched the second training from a distance, was impressed with the company’s use of the structure.
“I’m grateful to the HVFC for their collective vigilance and ceaseless commitment to training and continuous improvement in service to our community,” Brewer said. “Their well-planned and well-executed training exercises allowed the Leverett-Spencer house a final and important contribution to the future of the HVFC and, in turn, the safety of our community.”
Photos by Olivia Drake, HVFC.