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Two houses donated to Colonie for fire and police training

The Town of Colonie's Fire Services and Police departments will soon have their very own miniature village to run fire drills and hostage situation training.

The Town Board unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday, May 12, to send out a bid on contracts to move two houses donated by Peter Campito, owner of Campito Plumbing and heating Ltd., to a spot at 327 Old Niskayuna Road.

Pete Lattanzio, Colonie's fire services chief, said while the town has a fire tower on Wade Road that they use for training, this would provide a much more realistic training experience for firefighters.

The houses will be fully furnished to the extent that the cupboards will be filled with dishes, there will be clothes, children's toys and other things on the floor that would create the environment of a real home.

This gives us the ability to train in a life-like scenario, he said. "Usually where we train is, in a sense, sterilized because there is nothing there except a little furniture."

This is coming as no expense to the town, Lattanzio said, as everything has been donated, including the prospective cost of moving the structures to the training facility. The town also received grants in the form of $125,000 donated by Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, and Assemblyman Jack McEneny, D-Albany, and a $50,000 grant from Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

The houses will not be burned, Lattanzio said, but a smoke machine will be used, as well as masks that will provide little visibility for the firefighters to run different scenarios around the house. He added that there would be Lexan plastic panels placed on the house where blood splatters will be on them. This, of course, would be painted on, but would simulate someone being knifed in a room, hit with a hammer or hit with an ax. There will be some costs, however, to replace some items.

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