Donating structures, located in the way of the new subdivision or shopping center, to the local fire department for practice (and a wienie roast) used to be the province of old, obsolete farmhouses. Now, that trend has entered the suburban 'teardown' scene.
Sometimes nice homes get torched for firefighting practice when owners want to build anew
By TOM KERTSCHER
Milwaukee (WI) Journal-Sentinal
Posted: July 21, 2006
If you want a bigger house, and your wallet's big enough, you don't add on.
You burn down.
People are getting the local fire department to burn down their house - some worth $150,000 or more - to make room for a new and bigger home.
And they get a tax break in the process.
"I just have never heard of that," said a flabbergasted Trena Bond, executive director of Housing Resources Inc. in Milwaukee, which helps low-income people buy first homes.
"I can't imagine they're doing that. Other people can't even find a decent house to live in."
The practice of torching and razing perfectly good homes might seem the epitome of suburban excess. But it's all a matter of perspective, and in any case it's great for firefighters.
"That's the best type of training that you can get," said Mark Hetzel, the fire chief in Raymond in Racine County.
(see: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=475122 for rest of article)