UNC Asheville to Host Weeklong Asheville Fire Department Training
Soon-to-be Renovated Classroom Building to Serve as Site
In this case, where there’s smoke, there won’t be
More than 200 firefighters from the City of
Asheville Fire and Rescue Department will take over UNC Asheville’s
Zageir Hall March 4-11 for search-and-rescue drills. The University
recently offered the soon-to-be renovated classroom building as
dedicated space for the around-the-clock exercises during UNC
Asheville’s spring break.
“The University is very pleased that Zageir Hall
will be used for such important training exercises,” said Steve Baxley,
UNC Asheville Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Operations. “The
building has two stories and contains large rooms as well some small,
convoluted spaces. It is very different from the fire department’s
routine training facility and so should offer some excellent challenges
Planned exercises include after-dark training with
night vision goggles, breaching walls, and rescues after the building
has been filled with synthetic smoke.
“We are fortunate to be able to partner with UNC
Asheville in order to advance the training of our firefighters,” said
Greg Grayson, City of Asheville Fire and Rescue Department chief. “This
training experience will enable us to be better prepared for the
challenges we face in serving and protecting our community. We thank the
University for their willingness to improve public safety for Asheville.”
This event is among continuing opportunities the
University offers local first responders for training exercises.
Operation Highsmith, held in the former Highsmith Center prior to
massive renovations in 2002, was one of the largest terrorism and
structural collapse exercises ever held in the state. In addition, when
land was cleared for the construction of the new Facilities Management
Complex last year, two abandoned buildings on the site were used by
local fire departments for burn drills.
Renovations to Zageir Hall are expected to begin
later this month and be completed in spring 2007. Worn flooring will be
replaced and several walls will be moved to create more usable space.
The mechanical and fire alarm systems will also be upgraded. This $2.5
million project is the last of several UNC Asheville projects funded by
the 2000 Higher Education Bond Referendum. Pearce Brinkley Cease & Lee
of Asheville are the project architects.
Steve Baxley, UNC Asheville Associate Vice
Chancellor for Campus Operations, 828/232-5031
Kelley Webb, City of Asheville Fire and Rescue
Department Public Information Officer, 828/251-4011 (office) or
- Jill Yarnall, UNC Asheville Public Information Assistant Director,