SAN ANTONIO -

The San Antonio Fire Department sent more than a dozen vehicles to the CPS Energy building downtown on Navarro to conduct a drill that tested their high-rise fire-fighting skills.

CPS Energy employees used the drill as an opportunity to test their ability to evacuate and account for their 1,200 downtown employees.

The fire department conducts the drill every year at CPS Energy to get practice on the specific physical, strategic and logistical challenges that high-rise buildings pose

"They pose certain risks that a regular apartment complex that has only two (or) three stories doesn't pose," said San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove. "Especially in the downtown area. These buildings are so close together."

One challenge is that ladder trucks only go up 100 feet, which is about half as tall as the CPS Energy building.

"When you have an apartment fire, even if it's a large fire, we can use our ladder trucks or platform trucks to get above it (and) 'surround and drown,' is the term we use," Bove said.

Instead, firefighters have to go inside a high-rise to fight the flames from within, which has added risk.

One of the lessons CPS Energy has learned from past drills is they can help lessen the risk for firefighters by accounting for all employees. They added floor monitors to help clear each floor.

"It ensures us that we've got employees out safely, so that our local firefighters aren't risking their lives going in through a building looking for someone who may not be there," said John Moreno, spokesperson for CPS Energy.

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