Boise Fire Department trains for high-rise emergencies

Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 19:39:24-04

BOISE — If you were in downtown Boise on Wednesday, you might have seen something alarming: several fire engines near the Banner Bank building. But it wasn't an emergency. Boise Fire Department is doing its high-rise building training.

In the event of a high-rise building fire, you'll want your first responders ready.

With that goal in mind, Boise Fire is training with hoses as well as getting familiar with the Banner Bank building's fire protection systems and elevators.

According to fire officials, it's not unusual for fighters to carry up to 100 lbs. as well as their regular gear up several flights of stairs.

"(Our) equipment (includes) our 50-pound suit that we walk around in for hours and hours," said Boise Fire Battalion Chief James Gross.

Gross says while Boise doesn’t have these types of fires often when they do, they're much higher risk.

"It just complicates things exponentially, and the higher we go, the more manpower we need," he said.

The Eastman building fire in downtown Boise in 1987 is an example of an involved high-rise fire that ended in a complete demolition.

The older building didn't have the protection systems that we do today. Officials say Boise's newer buildings are better equipped to keep the fires small.