Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ELLISVILLE, Mo. (KMOX) – Firefighters from several area districts this week are getting to practice at the site of an actual commercial structure – an opportunity that only comes along about once a decade.

They’re using a former car dealership at the southwest corner of Manchester and Clarkson as a training ground before it’s torn down to make way for new development.

Metro West deputy fire chief Edward Beirne says normally firefighters have to train in a burn tower or other facility on their own back lot.

“They tend to be remembered,” he says of those facilities. “You can only set the building up so many different ways before your firefighters and your paramedics start to remember the entry patterns.”

That’s why they jumped at the chance to train inside the shuttered dealership.

“Commercial property – the market’s so hot for it, when you get a property, it’s usually re-purposed right away,” Beirne says.

As for what will happen to the site once firefighters are done smashing its walls, cutting holes in its roof, and generally destroying the place – it will become a convenience store and gas station.

“This portion (of the property) was sold off, and QuikTrip bought it for a ‘superstore’ they’re going to build here,” Beirne says. “They’re going to start tearing this building down next week or the week after.”

The same property was the focus of much heated debate when it was proposed as the site for a Walmart store, an idea that eventually fell through over a disagreement about whether TIF money should be used on the project.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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