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Donate My House For Training

Donate My HouseAre you planning to demolish a structure like your house? We might be able to help!

Clackamas Fire District #1 frequently uses residential and commercial structures for destructive training. We burn structures in their entirety or conduct exercises that include breaking down doors and cutting holes into roofs and walls. This type of training is invaluable to your local firefighters and can not be replicated on the training ground.

Burning a structure can significantly reduce the amount of demolition debris needing to be removed from the site. You may also be eligible for a tax benefit, which is dependent on your specific situation and should be verified with your tax specialist.

What is Destructive Training?

“Destructive Training” encompasses all training activities that harm a building. While the Fire District has a training facility, nothing compares to the “real world” and our firefighters appreciate the opportunity to hone their skills on actual buildings. We either burn the entire structure or cut vent holes into roofs, practice breaching doors and windows and break walls and floors to search for fire.

How Do I Qualify?

Donate My HouseA multitude of structures can be used for destructive training, including single family residences, apartment buildings, commercial structures or gathering spaces such as churches. All structures must be cleared of bio-hazards, be tested and confirmed to not contain asbestos and should be structurally sound. Whether a structure can be burned depends on a multitude of factors such as location, slope, accessibility with large vehicles and weather. We do not burn structures in the summer when the countywide burn ban is in effect.

What Do I Have To Do?

Once you have decided to allow the Fire District to use your structure for destructive training:

  • Contact our Training Division at: 503.742.2680
  • Once contacted, a Fire District representative will assess your property/structure free of charge.
  • Destructive training is free and can be done throughout the year, except summer, with a few days’ notice; burning takes about 30 days to conduct.
  • The District will charge the property owner a flat fee of $4,000 for acquired structure live fire events.
  • You will, also, be asked to provide a light lunch for approximately 30 firefighters participating in the exercise. Additionally, you will need to establish a fire watch at your property for 24-hours after the event. You can do this yourself or you may hire someone.

Click here for the Destructive Training brochure.

F.A.Q.

How do I donate property to the Fire District?

You are not technically “donating” your property, but you will sign a notarized consent form allowing the Fire District to access your property for the purpose of destroying it, either by burning it or by conducting other destructive training. You remain the owner of the property at all times.


Why would I allow the Fire District to use my property?

People choose to allow the Fire District to use their property for training for many reasons, but the one most cited is the desire to improve public safety and our community by giving local firefighters a chance to train on real buildings before they respond to actual emergencies. While the Fire District has training equipment, no simulation is as realistic as reality!

If your property qualifies as burnable and the fire district conducts a live fire exercise in it, the amount of demolition debris will be reduced through the incendiary process, though it will not be completely eliminated (also see “Debris”).

Depending on your personal situation, you may be able to qualify for a reduction in taxes through the devaluation of your property. The Fire District will, upon request, generate a letter confirming the destruction of your structure(s) stating that training took place, but that such training has no monetary value. The value and any possible benefit will be determined by your tax specialist.


Will burning my structure clean up my demolition site debris?

If your structure qualifies as burnable, we will burn it as completely as possible. In most cases there will be a pile of ashes contained within the foundation of the building. This pile remains and becomes the owner’s responsibility (also see “Fire watch”). Some building components will not burn, such as furnaces, toilets, sinks, and water heaters. It is at the owner’s discretion to remove these items before the training exercise or dispose of them along with the ashes after the fire.

If your structure qualifies for destructive training but will not be burned all debris will be left on site. Our crews will assure that all materials cut by them will be contained within the building they came from. The Fire District does not remove debris from any property.


How long does it take to destroy my property?

Setting up a life fire exercise is time-consuming and generally takes a month or more. Timing depends on many factors, such as weather (we do not conduct live fire exercises during the summer, due to extension potential), the training budget, and instructor availability. Please contact the Training Division at 503.742.2680 for details on your specific situation.

General destructive training can be accomplished in as little as a few days if the parameters are met and is free of charge.


What do I have to do to have my property destroyed?

Once it has been established that your property can be used for destructive training you will need to:

  • Fill out the appropriate consent form and have it notarized
  • Obtain a Demolition Permit through the Clackamas County Building Codes Division
  • Have all asbestos removed from the structure
  • Prove that you have a clean title to the property (no liens and all owners have signed the consent)
  • Prove that there is only liability insurance on your property, if any at all (letter from agent)
  • Have all utilities disconnected and safely capped

This applies to all types of Destructive Training. If your property gets burned, you additionally have to:

  • The District will charge the property owner a flat fee of $4,000 for acquired structure live fire events.
  • Provide a light lunch for about 30 firefighters and instructors
  • Establish a fire watch for 24-hours after the burn to prevent injuries from the hot ash pile

What is fire watch?

Fire watch is a person who assumes the responsibility for a property after it is burned. The ash and debris pile from a structure burn remains hot for many hours (depending on weather conditions) and poses a potential danger for unsuspecting passersby, curious children, or pets. In order to protect the public at large, the Fire District requires the property owner or his/her designee to remain on the premises for 24-hours after the Fire District’s personnel have left to monitor the burn site and prevent injuries. The property owner may elect to hire someone for this task, either way the liability for any injuries resulting from access to the site after Fire District personnel have left, lies with the property owner.


What happens when my structure gets burned?

If your structure is being used for a live fire exercise, Fire District personnel will begin preparing your structure several days before the burn date. They will cover openings with sheet rock, cut holes into the roof, and deliver pallets and straw bales for fuel.

On the day of the burn for 30 firefighters and instructors will spend several hours, usually starting around 8 AM until about 2-4 PM at the site. We set multiple fires and take turns extinguishing them. At the end, we allow the structure to burn to the ground; at which point, most of the firefighters and instructors leave with only a few remaining, until most active flaming has stopped. We, then, turn the property back over to the owner and you establish a 24-hour fire watch on your property.