AVON-BY-THE-SEA — Fire fighter James Alburtus has been donating homes to local fire departments for training purposes since 1985 and recently donated a home to the Avon Fire Department.
As an active Belmar fireman for 42 years, Mr. Alburtus understands the importance of preparing to fight a fire before being involved in an actual fire.
As a builder of modular homes, he donates properties slated for demolition and replacement to local fire departments for training exercises before they are knocked down.
“It’s very hard to have a drill in a house because you create damage. So when you have a house that’s going to be knocked down they can go in there carte blanche and they fill it up with smoke, they hide dummies in there, they put their airpacks on and do a search and rescue,” he said.
About two weeks ago, the Avon and Neptune City fire departments gathered at 415 Norwood Ave. in Avon to train at a property donated by Mr. Alburtus.
“It gives us reality-based training, we can create different things in the fire house or at the academy, but to actually have a house that we have never really seen the lay of before and to put the smoke machines in it and smoke it up, it gives us a more realistic training environment,” said Avon Fire Chief Joseph Gentile.
Chief Gentile said about 25 firefighters from both departments participated during the training.
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