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Carbon firefighter training tower must be demolished

Published April 08. 2014 01:43PM

The 75-foot tall training tower, which has been used for training firefighters for over 40 years, at Baer Memorial Park in Lehighton, is going to be demolished.

The tower was inspected by an engineer and deemed to be unsafe.

An inspection was done by Carbon Engineering of Summit Hill, which indicated the condition of the tower is so bad, that even eight or nine firefighters on the same floor might cause it to collapse.

John McArdle, president of the Carbon County Fireman's Association and the fire chief in Nesquehoning, said the planning process will begin to construct a new training facility.

Such a project will cost in excess of $1 million.

Wayne Nothstein, a long-time association member and former chief of the Lehighton Fire Department, said the structure has a steel skeleton and block shell. He said there are areas where the concrete is so deteriorated that you can see through the walls to the outside.

McArdle explained firefighters noticed the base of the stairwell was beginning to rust, prompting the inspection.

Nothstein, who is a Carbon County Commissioner, notified Carbon Engineering, who did the inspection several months ago.

McArdle added that the locks on the building were changed a couple of months ago to prevent usage.

Several sites are being eyed as potential locations for a new training center, including an area in Nesquehoning near the Carbon County Prison.

The training tower was especially useful for training firefighters on the use of ladders, rescue techniques, the attack on an interior fire, and other important facets of firefighting.

For some of the training, firefighters might have to go outside the local area until a new site is built, which could take several years.

The tower was used not only by firefighters from throughout Carbon County but also by firefighters from surrounding areas for training.

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