Duke, Durham Fire Department Partner on Training Exercises on Central Campus

Beginning Oct. 24, six apartments are scheduled to be burned by December

Controlled Fires on Central Campus for Training Exercises

Update: Nov. 22, 2019

Durham Fire Department crews will be on Duke's Central Campus conducting fire training exercises from Monday, Nov. 25 through Wednesday, Nov. 27 as part of an agreement with Duke University.

During the controlled burns, individuals in the immediate area may see and smell smoke. The distribution of smoke will depend on weather conditions such as wind and humidity. The Durham Fire Department will be on the scene for the duration of each controlled burn and has taken all appropriate safety precautions.

Update: Nov. 20, 2019

Durham Fire Department crews will be on Duke's Central Campus conducting fire training exercises from Wednesday, Nov. 20 through Friday, Nov. 22 as part of an agreement with Duke University.

During the controlled burns, individuals in the immediate area may see and smell smoke. The distribution of smoke will depend on weather conditions such as wind and humidity. The Durham Fire Department will be on the scene for the duration of each controlled burn and has taken all appropriate safety precautions.

Original Post:

Duke and the Durham Fire Department have entered into an agreement to use the abandoned apartments on Central Campus for controlled fires to conduct firefighting training exercises.  

The Durham Fire Department will begin burning down six vacant apartment buildings on Thursday, Oct. 24 and continue through early December. Then, the department will move to another portion of Central Campus to burn up to six other buildings.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to do several training burns,” said Willie Hall, assistant chief of the Durham Fire Department. “Historically, what we get for acquired structures for training are single family residential buildings. This will give us the opportunity to practice on larger structures with two to three floors, different roof lines, common areas, shared attic spaces, and different points of entry.”

Hall said smaller individual training burns only allow a portion of the department to participate, but he hopes to have all 400+ members of the department participate in the training exercises on Duke’s Central Campus.

During the controlled burns, individuals in the immediate area may see and smell smoke. The distribution of smoke will depend on weather conditions such as wind and humidity. The Durham Fire Department will be on the scene for the duration of each controlled burn and has taken all appropriate safety precautions.

“We have worked with the state to get the necessary permits for the training burns,” Hall said. “Our prefire planning includes ensuring sufficient water supply, confirming asbestos remediation, and meeting all regulations for air quality.”

The training exercises on the first few buildings are tentatively scheduled to be conducted based on the schedule below, which could be modified based on weather conditions during the day of the exercises:

  • Oct, 24-26
  • Nov. 14-15
  • Nov. 20-23
  • Nov. 25-27

During the training exercises, the immediate area will be cordoned off and access to Yearby Avenue will be limited east of Anderson Street for safety. Access along Anderson Street, Alexander Avenue, and Oregon Street should not be impacted during this time.