Chief Silva: Old home has proven a valuable training ground

Chief Silva: Old home has proven a valuable training ground

This home behind the old public safety complex has been put to use as a training center for town firefighters. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – An old home behind the town’s former public safety complex on Mineral Spring Avenue has been a valuable resource in training for firefighters, says Chief John Silva.

There have been some continued claims from some that Mayor Charles Lombardi is employing a double standard by allowing the 1967 home at 175 Bourne Ave. to continue sitting in a deteriorated state even after taking a hard line with Dr. Anthony Farina for his former dilapidated building at the intersection of Smithfield Road and Mineral Spring Avenue.

Those claims have included assertions that the building hasn’t been used as an actual firefighter training space for many months, but Silva said that’s not the case.

“That’s definitely not true,” he said.

He said last Friday that the most recent training prior to that date was “at most maybe a week or two” before.

“We use it fairly frequently,” he said.

Having an expendable home such as this, as the town prepares to sell it with the safety complex property nearby, is a great benefit to the department, said Silva. It proved especially valuable for training when the department recently welcomed several new recruits.

It’s important for any department to be able to train live in a building, said Silva, including on ventilation and opening walls. Specific training exercises are dependent on weather conditions, he said.

Back in January, former Town Councilor Joe Giammarco said leaving this building in a wrecked state, with holes in the roof and mattresses strewn about, could make it a harbor for rodents, as Lombardi previously asserted at Farina’s building before it was torn down three years ago.

Lombardi said this week that the town still has an active purchase and sale agreement with a developer on the old safety complex and surrounding parcels, a pending sale that’s projected to bring in more than $2 million. He said in January that even outside of allowing firefighters to continue using the home for training, he sees no reason to spend the $12,000-$15,000 needed to demolish it if that work will be covered by the property’s next owner.

The town’s real estate database shows that the 1,630-square-foot home went into foreclosure back in 2017 and was sold to the town for $126,000 in February of 2018.