First responders get hands-on ahead of Tutwiler demolition

It’s been even noisier than usual over the past week near Tutwiler Hall on the University of Alabama campus. While the new Tutwiler dorm is moving right ahead on schedule for an August opening, the now-former dorm has a much more explosive fate ahead.

Lt. Eric Krisch said don’t be alarmed by all the firetrucks and response vehicles as you drive or walk past the building on Paul W. Bryant Drive.

“Tutwiler is scheduled for demolition, and we have been given an opportunity to come in and train,” Krisch said.

Because the old Tutwiler dorm is slated for destruction, it’s the perfect time for first responders including Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue and the University of Alabama Police Department to do some hands-on training.

“Being able to go into an actual building and actually break the doors and tear stuff up is not something that you normally get to do,” Krish said. “They tend to frown on us going in and breaking doors in regular buildings.”

But nobody cares if you blast through a door with a battering ram in a building that’s going out in a blaze of glory on July 4.

“Having the opportunity to come in and actually use the tools to break the doors is a tremendous opportunity for us,” Krish said. “It’s much more realistic than anything that we can do at a training facility or out on a range.”

Tutwiler isn’t alone in receiving such a destructive sendoff on the UA campus. When a building is getting ready to be torn down, law enforcement agencies host hands-on training opportunities that are unique.

“Normally we have our training, like for firearms training we will be out on the range, we do training in the classroom and that kind of thing, but this is an opportunity for us to be live,” Krisch said. “To be able to do the things that we would have to in an emergency situation that we can’t recreate anywhere else but inside a building like this.”

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