Area firefighters had an opportunity for hands-on training last weekend in Vienna when the Gambit Inn building was burned. Photo and story by Lonnie Hinton/The Vienna Times.

Firefighters receive unique training

Firefighters from throughout Southern Illinois area were in Vienna to get hands-on training in real-life conditions at the Gambit Inn this past weekend before letting the vacant hotel burn to the ground. 

The training was conducted by the Illinois Fire Service Institute, IFSI, at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. 

More than 100 firefighters participated in the training on Saturday and Sunday with equipment from 11 different departments in Johnson, Union, Williamson, Massac and Pope counties.

The Anna and Metropolis fire departments had their ladder trucks available during the training. Nearly a dozen other fire trucks were also at the site.

Gary Dahmer, the owner of the property, donated the structure to IFSI for the unique training opportunity. It was one of the largest structures acquired by IFSI for this type of training.

Dahmer purchased the property last year that also included the former Gambit Golf Course. 

He is constructing 67 campsites on the property for his new Shawnee Forest Campground. He plans to open the campground next spring.

Dahmer said he has been talking to hotel chains hoping to lure them to build in Vienna. By removing the old hotel he said the site would be more appealing to potential buyers.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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