LIMA — Shortly after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Allen County Sheriff’s SWAT Team assembled in a drizzling rain outside a dwelling in the 500 block of West Grand Avenue in Lima.
By noon, the structure had been reduced to rubble.
Perhaps somewhat strangely, the morning was considered a win-win for everyone involved.
Sheriff Matt Treglia stood along the sidewalk outside the abandoned structure at 537 Grand Ave. as his team prepared for a mock raid and extensive training exercise at the site. Also present was Allen County Auditor Rachael Gilroy, who works hand-in-hand with the Allen County Land Bank which had made the property available for the SWAT team training exercise.
Gilroy said the Land Bank acquired the property through foreclosure “about a month ago.” She said after researching all options and possible uses for the property, it was determined that the vacant home should be razed.
That, in turn, handed Treglia a perfect opportunity to try out the SWAT team’s newest piece of equipment — a Bearcat emergency rescue vehicle — in a real-life setting.
The vehicle, which came with a $238,000 purchase price, was publicly unveiled in early February. Treglia said the armored vehicle has been used three times during SWAT raids but noted that Tuesday’s training exercise was the first time team members had to try out some apparatus and features of the vehicle in situations that closely resembled what the SWAT team encounters in a real life setting.
“This was a rare training opportunity for us,” the sheriff said.
After the SWAT team had concluded its training, a large crane that was parked along Grand Avenue moved in to begin demolition of the home. A short time later all that remained was a pile of debris.
In addition to eliminating from the neighborhood a vacant, deteriorating structure that had become little more than an eyesore, Gilroy said the two adjoining property owners stand to benefit from the demolition.
“There’s already a tentative agreement in place between the two neighbors to split up the lot,” the auditor said.