Members of Camden Fire Department met Monday, Feb. 25, to explore the building at 133 Elm St., the site of the former Lotus Chinese restaurant.

The building is slated to be used for live fire training in March, said Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley.

He said members of Camden Fire Department meet bi-weekly for various types of drills. Farley said the Feb. 25 evening drill was the department's first with brand new engine four, which was delivered Jan. 7. He added the Monday night drill was the first time firefighters had entered the Lotus building.

Once they entered the building, firefighters used flashlights to explore an upstairs apartment that bore signs of previous inhabitants including abandoned furnishings, curtains and wilted houseplants. As the walk-through continued, firefighters shared observations about the building germane to safely completing future live fire training.

Downstairs lights were turned on and heavy water damage was visible over portions of the floor.

The 7,192 square-foot building was purchased by Hannaford Brothers Co. in 2007 and has a  replacement value of $335,300, for the building alone, according to Vision Appraisal, an online assessors database.

Camden Fire Department Safety Officer Jeff Weymouth said his crew built the initial part of the structure in 1972 and constructed an addition in 1984. Weymouth was on hand to discuss details of the construction with Camden firefighters after they completed a cursory exploration of the building.

Firefighters then practiced running 200-foot handlines — sans water — from engine four into the building. Farley previously has said firefighters must finish any training at the site by the end of the month when building is slated for demolition. He also previously said a number of factors, including weather, could have an impact on the live burn.

Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at