A San Marcos apartment complex that has been a magnet for criminal activity is set to be demolished -- but not before authorities use the building for training purposes.
This week, San Marcos firefighters took part in training exercises at the now-vacant Autumn Drive Apartments. One exercise involved firefighters rescuing a victim -- a dummy -- from a smoky residence.
San Marcos Fire Department Battalion Chief Brett Van Wey explained, "In this complex, there's 11 buildings, there's one hydrant. Well, when they redo all that there will be more fire systems and things built into each building."
Once firefighters are done with their series of training exercises, the complex will be torn down to make way for the new Westlake Village, a $24 million, 16-unit residential and retail community.
The brand new construction will make it safer from a fire standpoint, but from a criminal one as well.
According to property manager Luisa Rodriguez, the complex had to evict a lot of people because they were dealing drugs.
"Gang members started breaking into the apartments and breaking windows, glass," said Rodriguez.
That criminal element has been a major concern for neighbors because across the street is a park where families bring their children. They say the redevelopment will make a big difference.
Area resident Lucia Aguire, who has two young daughters, said there have been times when fear was common among neighbors, especially those with children.
"Now the children can go play and they can go outside," said Aguire.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department SWAT team will also be training at the vacant complex next week.
Demolition of the complex is scheduled to being January 23.
The target date for completion of the redevelopment project is August 2013.
Firefighters Turn Apartment Into Training Area
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