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Westwood Firefighters Begin Training in Flood Buyout Houses

Three flood-prone homes purchased by the borough with grant money have been made available to firefighters for drills.

The Westwood Fire Department has begun holding drills in the first of three flood-prone homes on Harding Avenue set for demolition.

The three homes were purchased by the borough earlier this month with grant money from FEMA and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Firefighters were practicing raising ladders to second-flood windows to gain access to 46 Harding Avenue and pulling dummies from the house Wednesday night, according to Fire Chief Jaymee Hodges.

They started training in that house first because it is the scheduled to be demolished first, Hodges said.

Prior to the drills, officials spoke to nearby homeowners to warn them about the plans.

"We try to be sensitive to the neighborhood," Hodges previously said. "We don't want to be a nuisance."

Westwood Mayor John Birkner previously told Patch that it is routine for firefighters to train in homes that will be demolished. 

The borough still has funds leftover from the grants which may go to purchase more flood-prone homes. 

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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