Firefighters drill with real fire

NEW ULM – Firefighters honed their skills Saturday with a live fire drill involving a vacated building on Boundary Street, near River View Sanitation on the north edge of town.

The drill began with several small-scale live burns. Firefighters lit controllable size fires in a room on the third floor of the building. A team of five firefighters advanced to the area and extinguished the fire, then ventilated the area and overhauled the room, ensuring the fire did not extend to other areas.

Firefighters then lit several areas of the first floor. Fire eventually consumed the building while other firefighters created hose streams and protected exposures surrounding the building.

River View Sanitation owner Kevin Finstad watched the building burn while firefighters held hoses on it.

“Long ago, the building housed a male dormitory where Martin Luther College now stands,” Finstad said. “It was beyond repair, but in it’s day, the stucco and wood building had to be beautiful. It had 12 bedrooms, four bathrooms and hardwood floors.”

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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