Onlookers may have recently noticed fire trucks and ambulances in the parking lot adjacent to the vacant Kensington. The Norfolk Fire Division has been conducting training exercises over the past couple of weeks.
Norfolk Fire was able to do high-rise operations which includes hooking a hose to the outside of the building and going up to a designated floor and hooking hoses internally to help extinguish fires on upper floors. They also got to incorporate multi-room search and rescue techniques in all of the apartments along with firefighter rescue training.
“The Norfolk Fire Division would first like to thank the Norfolk Housing Agency for allowing us to conduct training at the Kensington. With multi-story buildings being built and restored here in Norfolk, this provides training opportunities that challenge our firefighter’s skills when working in mid-rise (5-12 floors) buildings,” said Assistant Chief Trever O’Brien. “Fire Division officers and firefighters use their critical thinking and firefighting skills differently in buildings of this size to help mitigate a problem and keep people safe. Being able to conduct training in buildings like this simply cannot be duplicated in an occupied space without disturbing residents so the timing is right.”
The Kensington has been vacant since December pending a sale to Ho-Chunk Capital. Ho-Chunk plans to convert the historic building into a boutique hotel, which will serve as a tourist hub in downtown Norfolk.