This weekend, a former tourist attraction will become a training area for firefighters.
On Nov. 13, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued permits for Capital City Fire/Rescue to conduct live fire training at the Thane Ore House. The training will take place this weekend, Nov. 24 and 25. The DEC found that the building, which is located out Thane Road, didn’t have any prohibited or toxic materials in it.
This has been in the works for a few years. The Thane Ore House closed in 2012 after the owners were evicted for not paying city sales tax. In 2015, Central Council Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska won a bid to use the site and found that it wasn’t worth it to try to renovate the building that had fallen into disrepair. Previously, the Thane Ore House had been a restaurant and salmon bake.
Instead, another plan hatched. CCTHITA designed a cultural immersion park to take the place of the ore house, and set its sights on making that a reality. CCTHITA proposed a plan to burn down the ore house by having CCFR use the site as a training area. The City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors department owns the land and is leasing it to CCTHITA, and the Docks and Harbors Board voted in July 2017 to go forward with this plan.
The CCTHITA cultural immersion park is projected to include workshops, vendor spots, a stage, a dining area, a museum area and more. Previous estimates have put the budget for the project at just over $7 million. The land is owned by the CBJ and managed by Docks and Harbors.
CCFR Assistant Chief Tod Chambers said details of the training weren’t set in stone as of Tuesday afternoon. He said it will likely start Saturday morning “unless the weather goes sideways,” and he’s still working to get a group of firefighters together to participate in the training. He said CCFR has done live burn training like this before, including a July 2015 exercise at an old University of Alaska Southeast structure.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.