Tearing down a building? You can donate it to Hutto Fire Rescue

If you drove along County 118 the past three days, you may have noticed fire crews working on a house. Hutto Fire Rescue was doing training on a real house.

If you're planning to tear down a structure, you can donate it to them for trainings.

"We were just training on what we would do if we show up to a structure fire, when it comes to our hose line, our hose management, giving our firefighters some time to flow real lines and real water in a house, which we don't get a lot, unless it's on fire," training captain Caleb Saunders said.

The home was donated by the owner after a fire happened there a few weeks ago. Working in a simulated smoke environment, firefighters breached a window and door, cut holes in the roof for ventilation, and worked with the hose line.

Saunders says the department is always looking for more structures to train on.

"Anyone near the Hutto area, maybe surrounding areas, so we can get some other departments involved as well, just contact the Hutto Fire Department, we'd be grateful to have it," Saunders said.

Before finding this house, firefighters trained on a different type of structure.

"Some training academies, they will acquire structures, but it's very rare, so basically training on metal buildings that are designed to be lit on fire, but they're not the real thing, they're not made of wood, they're not a real home," Saunders said. "These homes, this is the best you can get. It's a real life thing, and it's what we're going on every day, so no better training than that."

The training happened on an already busy day for calls.

"Today, we just have a really high fire danger, we've seen it all day long, there's been fires all around us, grass fires, house fires this morning," Saunders said. "Getting training like this, especially in this heat, just really prepares us for days like today."

Another challenge is being short-staffed.

They're missing about one person per shift and are hoping more people will apply.

"We're constantly trying to get our numbers back up to where we need them so we can properly serve the community," Saunders said.

FOX 7 checked with some other fire departments in the Austin area to see if they take structures that would've been demolished for training, some don't.

Others, like Travis County Emergency Services District 12, have been offered structures through partnerships with developers.

For ESD 11, you can contact them if you're planning to tear down a building.

So, if you're interested in donating, check with your local fire department.