UNION, NJ – Over the past several weeks, Union firefighters received a rare and welcomed opportunity for firefighting training and practice inside a vacant building on Morris Avenue.

The building, located on the corner of Morris Avenue and Spruce Street, and known as the old Money Store, has been vacant for many years.  Recently purchased by Children’s Specialized Hospital of Mountainside, the building is to be renovated by them beginning late March.

“I want to thank Children’s Specialized Hospital of Mountainside for allowing us to use their building for training,” said Union Fire Department Chief Mike Scanio.  “Being able train like this gives us the ability to conduct quality training in a building similar to ones we respond to each and every day.  This definitely makes us better prepared and a better department.”

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Union firefighters participated in exercises and training in many facets, including practice with standpipe operations, firefighter ‘mayday’ practice, salvage and overhaul operations, and large area searches.

"It's not every day we have an opportunity to practice in a big building like this, so we're very thankful to have this chance,” said Union Fire Department Lt. Michael Caldas.  Caldas and some members of his team practiced internal door forced entry operations, including breaking through locks and breaking doors down.  Firefighters also participated in practice on elevator operations.  Firefighters from Maplewood, Millburn and Springfield have also used the building for their practice and training.