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Condemned building put to good use

URBANA -- The flames are real, the equipment is real, the danger is real.
URBANA -- The flames are real, the equipment is real, the danger is real. But, for dozens of firefighters, battling this fire was all in the name of training. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau has more from Tuesday's real-life practice session.

For people in the neighborhood, it's more than just training. They're happy to see this building burn. It's been condemned about two years. Many say getting rid of it will also get rid of problems in the neighborhood.

"I don't let my grandsons walk around here by themselves. There's just been so much crime going on around this way."

People like Wendi Jones associate that crime with this building.

"Fights, shooting, see all the little kids walking around here. It's not good."

Neighbors say it's become a hangout for kids and a home for some criminals.

"I'm so glad they're tearing this down. Maybe some of this crime will stop."

That would make it a win-win for Jones and the Urbana Fire Department.

"Every time I come around here, I'm looking up to see what they're doing."

"In the real world, we only get one shot at it."

That's why training is so important.

"Advancing hose, learning a little bit about fire behavior, throwing some ground ladders, basic search and rescue."

Those are just some of the things dozens of firefighters will be practicing this week. Once training is done, they'll get rid of the building for good.

"Beginning in November, our goal is to start burning the complexes down."

"If they bring in some new housing or apartments, that'll be good. Might clean up stuff a bit."

The training is going on until Sunday, but firefighters do get Friday off. In the time being, they'll close roads in the area for safety.
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