Turn of the century building burned in training exercise

“Flames quickly engulfed the Comstock Apartment building on Tuesday. (Photo by Bonnie West)Downtown Tacoma was abuzz on Tuesday as black smoke plumes and bright flames could be seen from multi-storied buildings surrounding the sight on G Street.The four-story Comstock Apartment building, constructed around the turn of the century, was being returned to ground level by the Tacoma Fire Department.Chief Gary Schiesz, public information officer for the department, said the apartment building, located at 1301 S. G St., was used as a training exercise for a dozen probationary firefighters. For many years, the Tacoma Fire Department has worked in partnership with building owners when they have structures that need to be removed and there is a benefit to us as a training exercise., he said.The probationary and veteran firefighters had the opportunity to go over operational items like working with hose advancing and general fire fighter tactics and strategies.Chief Schiesz said the weather was cooperative and the slight breeze took contaminants and falling debris away. The neighborhood was notified beforehand of the burning so that any residents with breathing problems could leave their homes for the day. Also, the warning gave owners time to move or cover their vehicles from smoky embers. “