Thousands evacuated in large fire drill in downtown Phoenix

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Large fire drill in downtown Phoenix

PHOENIX -- Thousands of people were evacuated from buildings in downtown Phoenix Thursday morning in what is being called the "world's biggest fire drill."

Over three days, the Phoenix Fire Department will evacuate more than 40,000 people in 60 downtown buildings in preparation of a high-rise fire.

According to the Phoenix Fire Department, nearly 1,000 office fires are reported across the country each year, but workers have a tendency to ignore smoke.

In Thursday's drill, about 50 firefighters rushed into Collier Center as if it were a real first-alarm fire.

After clearing the thousands of occupants from the building, firefighters first had to determine where the fire was and how they would get to it. Just as they would do in a real fire, firefighters rushed up the staircases with heavy packs.

According to the Phoenix Fire Department, this is all part of National Fire Protection Week, but they say most of the high-rise fire practice has been emphasized after 9/11.

Phoenix Fire will do one more drill on Friday and then they will take back all the information and apply it to any changes that might be necessary for the public's safety.