If someone screamed fire in the Detroit Theatre on Thursday, that would have been just fine.
There were plenty of firefighters around.
Firefighters practiced a few drills in the vacated structure — as well as on top of the building.
“That building served the community for many years, and it’s serving the community one last time, by helping to train firefighters," said Lakewood Fire Chief Scott Gilman. "They’re getting skills that they’ll use for years to come. It’s beneficial to everybody.”
Gilman said that some of the interior demolition has already begun, which canceled some of the scheduled rapid intervention drills.
However, 60 out of the department's 88 firefighters still got the opportunity to practice other exercises, including roof awareness and spotting.
“There are not nearly as many fires as there was when I started,” Gilman said. “The younger guys spend most of their time on the squad. Any time we get the chance to do something like this, it’s an opportunity to practice in a safe environment.”
Gilman said the drills are expected to continue Friday.
"It’s the kind of building we fight fires in all the time," he added. "It’s an older building, but older construction holds up better than newer construction."
Construction of the new McDonald’s — which would move the Sloane Avenue location — is expected to begin soon.
Officials have said they hope the new McDonald's will be finished by Halloween.
The project so far hasn’t exactly been speedy. By the time demolition begins, it will have been a year since McDonald’s first introduced the proposal to the city.