Put Building to Good Use Before Demolition

By John Anderson

Some names just stick, and Gauthier’s was one. The Auburn St. eatery was a daily stop for many residents as Paul A. Gauthier, Sr. and his small staff dished out wonderful breakfasts, poured hot coffee and provided a cozy space to read the morning paper.

When Paul retired, Frank & Nancy’s rented the space and provided their own brand of breakfast and lunch. Eventually, Frank & Nancy’s moved to Rte. 20, and the Auburn St. property sat vacant for years. To many, it was still referred to as Gauthier’s.

As is typical with progress, the property was recently sold and was slated to be razed. A new day care center will be built on the site. Before demolition, the Auburn Fire Rescue Department was allowed to use the structure for various exercises. Although the Dept. has a training facility on West St. that allows for many scenarios, there is nothing like the real thing to hone skills and educate new firefighters.

During a structure fire, the contained heat, smoke, and noxious gases make it difficult for firefighters to enter the building. To make conditions safer, firefighters ventilate the building at the highest level possible. Since heat rises, an opening above the fire will allow heat, smoke, gases, and often flames to escape. With improved visibility and less heat, firefighters can more easily crawl to the seat of the fire and extinguish it.

This building provided the location for Auburn’s firefighters to practice many skills including forcible entry, roof ventilation using power saws, roof ventilation using hand axes, and even breaching a concrete block wall.

Unlike the training facility, firefighters didn’t have to rebuild things for the next group to tear down once again. Fortunately, structure fires don’t happen often in town, but Auburn Fire Rescue continues to be well trained and prepared.