The City of Naples Fire-Rescue took advantage of a unique opportunity to use the former Naples Beach Hotel for emergency response training.
It may be upsetting for people who have fond memories of the old Naples Beach Hotel, but the building’s coming down either way.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a building of this nature,” said Steven Kofsky, battalion chief for training.
City of Naples Fire-Rescue Interim Fire Chief Phillip Pennington said, “when you get an opportunity to come in and actually do the physical hands-on where you can come in and break doors, you know, just not have to worry about anything, and actually get to do all the things that you’ve been training to do throughout your career, the guys were 100% excited to get in there and get going.”
The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club closed its doors in May. The Athens group, who now owns the property, made Tuesday’s training possible.
“If this leads to any response in the future that saves someone’s life, or that helps in any kind of a situation, then obviously, it was great to be able to be a part of that,” said Athens Group Project Executive Bill Ford.
Still, some got sentimental while tearing apart a place where they made so many memories.
Kofsky said, “it’s funny, a lot of the guys were mentioning that they’ve stayed here before, you know. We’ve had retirement parties here.”
“But I think the concept of using the building, you know, for a good purpose. And then, you know, knowing that down the road is going to be, you know, a new facility. Is a good thing,” said Pennington.
In addition to Naples Fire-Rescue, the Naples Police Department, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and several other agencies used the old Naples Beach Hotel for training the last several days.