Beacon Falls to burn Wolfe Avenue home

The town-owned house at 35 Wolfe Ave. in Beacon Falls. –ANDREAS YILMA

BEACON FALLS — Officials are going to burn down the town-owned house on Wolfe Avenue.

Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 will use the former home of Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Co. President Tracy Lewis at 35 Wolfe Ave. to conduct a live burn training for firefighters.

Voters approved buying the 1.5-acre property and house in 2008 for $425,000. At the time, officials planned to build a community center and library on the property. However, those plans didn’t move forward and the house has fallen into disrepair.

Officials explored whether to conduct the live burn training or just demolish the home. They opted to go ahead with the live burn.

“We made a decision to burn on Wolf Avenue,” First Selectman Gerard Smith said. “We’re getting the final numbers.”

Eagle Environmental, an industrial hygiene firm, conducted an environmental assessment of the house and a detached carriage house on the property.

The firm found lead paint in both buildings. Only the carriage house had lead paint levels the company said would be considered hazardous lead waste if demolished, according to an analysis submitted to the town in January. The firm also found some areas with asbestos in the house.

Before the buildings are taken down they will have to be remediated. Smith said the detached garage likely won’t be included in the live burn because of its proximity to woods in the rear of the property.

“We’re waiting to get the final assessment from Eagle on what to do before the burn,” Smith said. “We need to know exactly what to do prior to lighting the match.”

The town budgeted $80,000 this fiscal year to take down the home.

The live burn is expected to be done in the late summer or fall, officials said.

Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 Fire Chief Brian DeGeorge, who is also the town’s fire marshal, said the live burn will be done in phases.

“It’s systematic and will burn down on top of itself,” he said.

DeGeorge said firefighters will set fires in rooms of the house and put them out for training before lighting the house on fire. He said the training will probably take one day, and other local fire departments will provide mutual aid coverage in town during the training.

DeGeorge said the town will notify the surrounding neighborhoods before the live burn, and people can contact Town Hall or the fire department with any questions.