The house at 4 Short Lane may serve one more purpose before being demolished and the land handed over to the Darien Park and Recreation Department.

The Darien Police and Fire departments have the opportunity to use the 3,000-square-foot home for training exercises, according to Town Administrator Karl Kilduff.

"It's helpful to have locations like that," Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello said, but added that the police department has no immediate plans to use the house.

Police could use the home for tactical operations training, such as encountering barricaded people in rooms, Lovello said.

While the departments don't have a firm deadline to make a decision about using the house, the police department is "certainly looking at it," Lovello said.

Homes set for demolition in Darien have been used in the past for emergency-training situations.

Noroton Heights Fire Chief Ron Riolo said the three fire departments in town are likely to use the home in a three-department drill.

"We'll probably all work together one night and treat it like a house fire," Riolo said.

The house would not actually be burned, but a barrel would be burned inside to fill the house with smoke.

Riolo said these exercises are important in building trust between the three departments. The departments -- Darien, Noroton and Noroton Heights -- conduct several training exercises throughout the year.

A formal hazard analysis to find substances, such as asbestos, is included in the $100,000 set aside for the demolition, which is expected to be under budget, according to Kilduff.

The demolition is expected to cost $37,811 and the hazardous material abatement $38,101, Kilduff said.

The town still needs to apply for a demolition permit with the Building Department before it can move forward.

The Board of Selectmen approved the $1.93 million appropriation to purchase the .57-acre property, which is surrounded by Weed Beach Park, and for demolition of the single-family home on the property, at its Jan. 13 meeting.

The acquisition of open land is in line with the town's Parks, Recreation and Open Space and the Weed Beach plans.

Part of the 1996 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan addressed the need for more open space and recommended that by 2010 "approximately 26 additional acres of parkland would be needed to meet the residents' needs," according to a memo.;

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