PARMA, Ohio - Drivers traveling past The Shoppes at Parma on West Ridgewood Drive Tuesday noticed multiple fire trucks in the mall's parking lot.
The good news was that the emergency vehicles were there to benefit to public. Firefighters from Parma, Parma Heights and Brooklyn were training inside the vacant Macy's department store building on the mall's north side.
The former Macy's building is set to be demolished as part of the mall's renovation.
Parma Fire Department reached out to mall ownership, Phillips Edison & Company, asking if they could perform fire training inside the empty building before it was torn down.
"As part of the historic redevelopment of the Parmatown Mall, the planned demolition of the old Macy's building provides our local firefighters with a unique opportunity to perform this important training during Fire Prevention Week," said John Kokinchak, The Shoppes at Parma general manager. "Phillips Edison & Company is honored to partner with our community's brave first responders for this one-of-a-kind training."
On Tuesday, firefighters participated in forcible entry training.
Saws were used to cut through roll-down doors, steel doors and panic doors to gain entry. Personnel also manipulated locks to gain entry on commercial doors.
In the basement, wall breaching exercises were performed with sledge hammers breaking through cinder block walls.
Firefighters were grateful for the experience to train inside a unique environment.
"You usually don't get this kind of an opportunity to break things, cinder blocks walls, going through doors, forcing doors, so it was nice to get that opportunity," said Parma Fire Department Lt. Matt Garan.
Training will continue through the end of October.