Calera burning for training

Drivers on U.S. 31 and Interstate 65 in Calera may notice smoke billowing into the sky near the intersection of the two roads, as the Calera Fire Department will be conducting a controlled burn.

The burn began May 17, and will take place until May 19 at the Rolling Hills Conference Center, located at 521 Shelby County 304 off U.S. 31.

Firefighters will be burning an old A-frame building previously used to house the Rolling Hills director’s house and offices, said center Director Dan Ventling.

“When you turn into Rolling Hills, it’s actually the first building up on the hill on the right,” Ventling said.

The firefighters will be using the controlled burn as a training exercise, as it will allow them to battle a real blaze under controlled conditions, said Calera Fire Department Chief Sean Kendrick.

“We just did the first day of training today,” Kendrick said May 17. “We have just been setting the fires and putting them out so far.

“We will completely burn the building early Wednesday morning, or maybe even Tuesday,” Kendrick added.

Rolling Hills officials and firefighters are attempting to notify everyone of the controlled burn because the conference center experienced an accidental fire in one of its dormitories in February.

“I just don’t want people to be alarmed due to the fire we had in one of our dorms in February,” Ventling said.