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Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 05/15/2008 - 4:06pm.

The Nesbitt Court Housing Project was once home for hundreds of Wilmington residents. Now, it's a training ground for Wilmington's bravest. Firefighters are using the nearly 70-year-old concrete buildings to simulate real-life fire and rescue situations. They are using buildings at the Nesbitt Court Housing Project, which recently became vacant after the city decided to tear them down. They set bails of hay on fire inside the houses, then they suit up to practice putting out fires, breaking down doors and windows, and pulling victims to safety. Chief Chris Nelson of the Wilmington Fire Department said, "In a smokey, dark situation, you can't see. The smoke is dark. The rooms are dark. You can't see your hand in front of your face. This gives us a good chance in a safe environment to teach the proper techniques, how to stay in communication with each other." Crews also practice cutting holes in roofs for ventilation. The training is to help rookies learn and veteran firefighters to keep their skills sharp. Firefighters say the best defense against a fire is a working smoke detector. The most common causes of household fires are unattended cooking materials and electrical wiring.

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