KENNEWICK, Wash. - SWAT Teams from the Tri-Cities, Yakima, Seattle and even Montana are in town getting some hands-on explosives training for special incidents like barricaded suspects and hostage situations.
The former Chieftain Motel and Apartments was a battleground Thursday morning. For years it's been an eyesore in the historic downtown area, well known for drugs and crime. The buildings were slated for demolition already, so the Port of Kennewick offered them up for Thursday's explosive entry training.
"Talking to some of the officers that remember what it was like and serving search warrants down here and they tell me this is kind of an end to an era," said Port of Kennewick Commissioner Skip Novakovich.
And end of an era... that went out with a bang. It's very rare so many buildings are available for explosives training.
"This is a place where we can experiment with different amounts of compounds on different door frames, different constructions, to see what impact it will have. The goal is to use as little explosive as possible to get what we call a positive breach. To get the door to be able to open," said Captain Mike Cobb with the Richland Police Department.
But these trainings aren't all about blowing things up. The SWAT Teams have spent hours in the classroom learning how to build the explosives.
The goal with explosive breaching is to ensure safety on the inside of the buildings and out.
"You've seen some of these charges have failed. They haven't worked. Some others that have been really hot and without that data we don't know what's going to work or not work on the day," said instructor Steve Arbuthnot with the Valley SWAT Team.
"When it happens, you don't have a chance to make a mistake. You have got to get it right the first time and it's got to be done well," Cobb said.