Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is burning down the house, but it is all for a good cause.
The future location of a Goodwill Retail & Donation Center, at 2819-2827 Lee Blvd, was recently used for training exercises by the Lehigh Acres Fire Control & Rescue District.
While no live fire was used, water-based smoke was distributed to create multiple scenarios.
"Our objective was to allow crews to function as they would on an actual incident by coordinating incident command, radio communications, scene safety, forcible entry, search & rescue, and more," Capt. Ralph Ketron, of Lehigh Acres Fire Control, said. "The benefits created from this have been limitless. The reason I say that is because we do not have the luxury of a training facility in Lehigh that our men and women in uniform can use on a weekly basis."
The training also offered the public an opportunity to get a first-hand look at what the district does when an incident occurs.
"We had citizens stop by to watch their tax dollars hard at work," Ketron said. "We are professional firefighters who take our jobs seriously and love what we do. We owe it to the citizens of Lehigh Acres who we have sworn to protect through training. It allows us to be the best that we can possibly be when called upon."
Once demolition of the former realty location is over, Goodwill will begin the rebuilding process.
"We are more than happy to have had the Lehigh Acres Fire Control & Rescue District use our new location for training," Madison Mitchell, spokesperson for Goodwill, said. "This was another great opportunity for Goodwill to assist the community we serve."
The relocated store will employ an additional 16 employees and will have enough space for the Retail & Donation Center, a drive through donation area and space for a Goodwill Job-Link location which will assist individuals with employment services.
"The current location is around 4,000 square feet and does not have a Job-Link Center or a drive through donation drop-off," Mitchell said. "At this new location we will be able to build up to 20,000 square feet and really customize it in a way that will optimize the shopping experience for our customers and make it very convenient for our donors and clients."
The facility is planned to open in the second half of 2013.