Firefighters use former Burger King as training facility in south Fort Myers

Published: December 31, 2020 6:27 PM EST

A Burger King in Southwest Florida sizzled Thursday, but it didn’t have anything to do with hamburgers.

Firefighters were at one of the fast food chain locations off College Parkway in south Fort Myers to take part in fire response training.

It was an eerily quiet scene inside an abandoned burger king. Instead of cutting into a “Whopper,” Iona McGregor Fire District drilled into the roof.

“Anytime you get an opportunity like this commercial one, you have to jump at it and take it because it’s going to make us safer and effective,” Firefighter John Lockwood said.

The focus of the fire response training was ventilation, which is one of the biggest challenges when responding to a commercial fire.

“A lot of the ways they are laid out inside could be different, so there’s a lot more danger inherent danger that comes with that because a lot more unpredictable,” Lockwood explained.

The firefighters pounded away at the roof, with each action offering more information about the building

“Sounding for the members the trust members underneath that we want to walk on, and there’s a lot more that tells us a lot more of the construction type,” Lockwood said.

The work firefighters performed on the roof is a measure to create a better environment at a structure fire.

“By venting and creating a hole in the roof, we’re allowing the product of combustions smoke and heat to rise and give it an escape route,” said Joel Guzman, the division chief of training and EMS.

There was no emergency during the day’s training, but it’s valuable practice for the real thing. The fire district said it will continue to use the former Burger King for training, focusing on searches in the next few days.

“You’re prepared; you’re efficient; and you’re able to do it in an expedient manner,” Guzman said.