Soon to be demolished, back part of Shore Mall gives one more gift

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Laura Stetser/Firefighters from West Atlantic City Volunteer Fire Company in Egg Harbor Township sign in at the training on Saturday, Feb. 8. Laura Stetser/Firefighters from West Atlantic City Volunteer Fire Company in Egg Harbor Township sign in at the training on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Firefighters train for major disasters

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Reduce, reuse, recycle.

 Cedar Realty Trust, owners of the Shore Mall, first closed the rear anchor store Value City and continued reducing its tenants further by canceling the leases on the small shops that lined the avenues of the interior in the back portion of the once-thriving mall.

 The scaling back of the south side was in preparation for the pending demolition aimed at making the Shore Mall more viable in today’s commercial real estate marketplace.

 Later this week, the recycling end of the work will be completed. Workers are scheduled to come in to strip and recycle the building’s innards – its pipes, metal and anything that can be used elsewhere or sold.

 But even with the clock ticking, it seems the space still held one more use to the community.

 Seeing an opportunity to reuse the space for a uniquely advantageous opportunity, Egg Harbor Township Fire Chief William Danz successfully petitioned the owners to allow him to bring in the township’s volunteer firefighters to conduct large-scale training for major disasters.

 With the blessing of township officials, Danz held the training on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9 and 10 for all five of the volunteer companies in Egg Harbor Township as well as companies from Seaville and Marmora, which have mutual aid agreements.

 “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a firefighter’s dream to be able to train like this,” Danz said at the start of the training, which also included AtlantiCare responders.

 “This is specialized training in case we ever have a major disaster like a building collapse. We have our fire academy, but that is only so big,” he said, referring to Atlantic County’s Anthony “Tony” Canale Training Center in Egg Harbor Township.

 “We have to worry about our schools, Boscov's and buildings like Home Depot and Lowes.”

 The bleak department store was dark and very cold on Saturday morning. Electric service had already been shut off, so the firefighters were facing conditions similar to what they might find in a real-life search and rescue effort. Aside from a small bit of sunlight peeking through the doors and windows, the only illumination the firefighters had came from their flashlights.

 Throughout the training days, the volunteers were expected to re-enact elevator rescues, find injured responders within the building, breach concrete walls and other tasks.

 “There are all sort of cubbyholes upstairs and dark rooms, so we have hidden a few firefighters in there waiting for rescue,” Danz said.

 “In my 47 years as a firefighter, we’ve never had an opportunity to train like this. We couldn’t pass this up.”

Laura Stetser/Egg Harbor Township firefighters were joined by companies from Seaville and Marmora as well as AtlantiCare during the two-day training Feb.8-9. Laura Stetser/Egg Harbor Township firefighters were joined by companies from Seaville and Marmora as well as AtlantiCare during the two-day training Feb.8-9.


blog comments powered by Disqus