Local firefighters questioning safety of old landmark buildings

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The construction of these old landmark buildings and churches present unique hazards to firefighters. 

Holyoke and Springfield have dozens of buildings that are hundreds of years old, which can be extremely unsafe if they start to burn. Their heavy roofs and old construction lead to the possibility of collapse.

Local fire departments flag specific buildings which let firefighters know they need to attack the fire from the outside. 

Many vacant buildings will have a red and white X on them which indicates to firefighters not to enter the building during a fire because it’s unstable and could collapse.

According to Springfield Fire Commissioner B-J Calvi, if a building is not structurally sound, it’s marked with a red and white X. Many of Springfield’s condemned buildings are boarded up and abandoned. The Springfield Fire Department trains all year round to be prepared for any situation. 

B.J. Calvi Springfield Fire Commissioner said, “We train continuously in the fire department. We train on large buildings on small buildings we have a whole protocol on fighting fire in abandoned buildings so we train on it quite a bit.”

Holyoke is also home to dozens of old and vacant buildings, including this church on Appleton Street. It’s condemned, and marked with the red and white X, and surrounded by a fence to keep people out.

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