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Building to be burned by fire fighters

by Sharon Carter

To make way for the planned Road House Inn in downtown Gardnerville, Douglas firefighters plan to begin burning the old house at the northwest corner of Main and Eddy streets at 8 a.m. Sunday.

The corner, in its former incarnation, housed the Coventry Cross Thrift Shop and the East Fork Gallery. Those shops burned an an arson fire Jan. 23, 1995.

Destruction of the remaining structure, a former residence which has been used for storage, will be an important training exercise for local firefighters, Training Captain Tod Carlini of the East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts said Monday.

“It will be a chance for our fire fighters to get some actual, intensive structure firefighting experience,” Carlini said. “They’ll get some actual room-content type fire training.”

Carlini said because of restrictions placed on the regional burn structure in Carson City, Douglas firefighters have trained in Roseville, Calif., for the past year or so.

“But, this is the real deal,” Carlini said. “The firefighters will get to experience the heat build-up, the sounds and smoke under real, but somewhat controlled, conditions. It’s getting harder and harder to find places like this to train.”

Firefighters will set up the building and familiarize themselves with the area on Saturday, Carlini said.

“We’ll investigate the structure, install sheetrock panels to keep the fires contained, put in some venting and additional exits from the rooms and make sure there are no sharp objects or tripping hazards,” Carlini said. “Sunday will be the actual live fire day. We’ll set up different rooms to burn, and finish by letting the entire structure go.”

Engine Station 2 in Gardnerville will take the lead in the exercise, assisted by Engine Station 1 of Minden, he said.

“Then, if there aren’t enough firefighters who can do it, we’ll open it to the next two responders and the next until we get enough,” Carlini said.

With their neighborhood notifications, various releases and a Nevada Division of Environmental Protection burn permit in place, Carlini said about the only thing that would change the districts’ plan is if the weather does not cooperate.

“The weather will be a factor for us, it’s weather-dependent,” Carlini said.

Architect R.P. Heim, who designed the 33-room historic-style Road House Inn motel for Nevada Ventures partners Greg and Kirk Johnson, said he hopes the controlled conflagration will go as planned.

“We’re hoping to start (building) March 1, but with things going they way they sometimes do, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s closer to the 10th or the 15th,” Heim said. “We’re very close to pulling the (building) permit and the Road House people are in the process of getting (construction) bids. They’re committed to the project.”

Heim said he was currently making some minor changes to the motel’s plans required by the Douglas County Building Department.

n More new construction. Heim said he is also working on several other projects slated for the towns of Gardnerville and Minden.

“We’ll bring D and S Ventures’ Mid-Town Plaza West, next to the Two Guys from Italy restaurant, before the Town of Gardnerville on March 4 and then take it to the county commission,” Heim said.

Heim said the building will be very similar in style to the first Mid-Town Plaza across the street.

And he is working on two Minden projects.

A 4,000-square-foot building to house a proposed Subway Sandwich restaurant is planned for the small dirt lot just west of the High Desert Fitness building at Highway 395 and Lucerne Street, roughly across the street and east from McDonald’s.

Another project will to add onto the north side of the Minden Plaza and remodel the commercial center’s existing buildings – which house Minden Bike and Ski, Bike and Ski Sports and several other shops.