The old Lincoln City Grange Hall at 1220 Oar, due east of Tanger Mall, was burned to the ground Saturday – on the installment plan.
Volunteer firefighter recruits, after all their classwork and testing, needed one more item to get their firefighter’s certificate – fight a real fire. And they got one.
North Lincoln Fire brass coordinated the torching of the old Grange Hall beginning at around 8am Saturday. Fifteen separate fires were set and student firefighters followed instructions, learning what it’s like to be inside a burning building – over and over and over again. That’s why professional firefighters like “Burn to Learn” fires. They teach a lot in a very short time.
Property owners who don’t want to tear down any kind of old building can call their local fire department and volunteer the place for training. However, there are strings attached – like nearness to overhead power lines, other homes or businesses, busy streets or highways, proximity to populations sensitive to excessive smoke or popular shopping areas.
Fortunately for the firefighter students from West Valley, Lincoln City and Depoe Bay, they got a good one – the Grange Hall. And due to its being so old, there was very little in the way of hazardous materials. No asbestos, which was the big thing.
So, Saturday morning they began setting fires inside the building and worked their way through their lesson plan all day. At the end, they torched the old Grange Hall for good.
Smoke could be seen from all over Lincoln City and clear down to Depoe Bay. It was also quite prominent well out to sea, because that’s the way the wind blew it. Some crab fishermen way offshore saw the smoke and wondered what was burning – was it another boat? Some of them called the Coast Guard and they quickly learned it was the Grange Hall passing into history.
At the end of the day, the old building was gone, leaving behind a manageable debris field to clean up.