SAN ANTONIO — A new training facility dedicated to fallen San Antonio firefighter Scott Deem is open.
Twice a day, every day, San Antonio firefighters will charge into the warehouse on Nolan and North Cherry streets. The crews pour all of their energy into the training exercise.
Every single station will take turns with the drills. The program is new. It was implemented after the fire department took a hard look in the mirror after losing one of their own.
Scott Deem died while battling a fire at the Ingram Square shopping center on May 18th, 2017.
"I go into a building every day and I walk by Scott Deem's baby's picture, Scott Deem's family,” Chief Charles Hood said. “I've been able to channel my emotions and I think the majority of us who were on that incident that night, we've been able to channel our emotions and turn them into something that's very productive and that's exactly what this is here."
Chief Hood said the new facility, additional training hours and appointing a training chief were planned before Ingram Square fire review reports noted that the department should revisit their training practices.
"These were not required by NIOSH or the state, they weren't required by anyone except us," Chief Hood said in an interview with KENS 5 in September. The remarks were made in response to questions over both reports.
A simulation at the Deem training facility Tuesday involved crews searching a 2,400 square foot space set up like a typical home. The firefighters rescued two mannequins representing homeowners and dealt with a mayday call. The alarm means one of their crew members is lost, tangled up or having a medical episode.
The crews pulled out their acting firefighter in distress three minutes after the mayday alarm was triggered.
"We want to learn as much as we can, so why not put Scott Deem's name on this facility, because every time someone comes here, they understand the commitment we have to never let Scott's loss be in vain,” Chief Hood said.
Firefighters said the warehouse property will be a valuable tool. The site can be converted into a variety of layouts, furniture and other props can also be used to keep the crews ready for anything.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg attended the training drill. He also read a city proclamation stating October is fire safety and prevention month.