Police, firefighters take over hotel

Emergency squads use now-empty Golden Key as a practice facility.

January 18, 2012|By Veronica Rocha,
  • Glendale firefighter Kevin Lasota leads his team out a building by following the water line during mock exercises in buildings next to the Americana at Brand Boulevard in Glendale on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. The Glendale Fire Department conducted exercises at the now closed Golden Key Hotel and empty building next door. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Glendale firefighter Kevin Lasota leads his team out…

Taking advantage of a soon-to-be demolished three-story hotel in downtown Glendale, the city’s firefighters on Wednesday got a rare opportunity to hack into roofs and kick down doors.

Firefighters ran through a variety of training scenarios at the Golden Key Hotel, 123 W. Colorado St., putting on heavy gear and dealing with orders from supervisors.

From performing a fire attack to providing roof ventilation, firefighters practiced critical life-saving skills at the abandoned hotel.

The hotel was shuttered Dec. 31 following lengthy legal wrangling between its owner, Ray Patel, and Americana at Brand developer Rick Caruso.

Patel eventually settled last March with Caruso, who is looking to expand the outdoor mall, which is adjacent to the hotel, and replace the hotel with a building that will house a Nordstrom store.

Fire Training Officer Anthony Arellanes met with Caruso Affiliated representatives and city officials this week to discuss the Fire Department’s use of the building for training purposes.


“It’s a tremendous benefit for us,” he said, noting that such opportunities are extremely rare.

Being able to carry out firefighting maneuvers, which would otherwise be performed at a training facility, on a once-occupied building is “hard to come by these days,” Fire Capt. Bill Lynch said.

The Fire Department will share the building with Glendale police, whose Special Weapons and Tactics team are expected today to practice scenarios.

Firefighters are also expected to continue practicing today.

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