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Lockport homes in toxic buyout used for fire training

LOCKPORT – The five homes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency purchased because of toxic contamination on Water Street in Lockport are being used for firefighter training, Fire Chief Patrick K. Brady said Thursday.

The houses are not being set afire, but they are being filled with simulated smoke to give firefighters a chance to practice searches and rescues in a burning home. Brady said the non-toxic fumes are being generated by a smoke machine the city borrowed from Niagara County.

EPA spokesman Michael Basile said the city didn’t have to pay to use the houses and is not being allowed to damage them. They are to be demolished by the EPA, but there is not yet a scheduled date for the project, Basile said.

Brady said training at the houses in the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund site will continue until next week. He said the Fire Department remains interested in taking control of a former Jamaican restaurant on Charlotte Street, which the city owns because of a tax foreclosure, as a permanent training structure.