Former Helmsley home used in PV fire training Phoenix firefighters dragged hoses up a 1,500-foot-long driveway on Wednesday, knocking through once-opulent walls and punching holes through the expansive roof of hotel diva Leona Helmsley's former 10-acre estate on Paradise Valley's Mummy Mountain. About 30 firefighters worked to hone skills needed in fighting fires in large homes on steep slopes. They plan to return Friday for more training. The nearly 25,000-square-foot house, whose driveway rises nearly 300 feet in elevation, will be torn down next week to make way for a new two-story, 50,000-square-foot residence by Piccione Custom Homes. advertisement Phoenix developer Tom Piccione donated the former Helmsley home near Tatum Boulevard and Roadrunner Road so firefighters could develop mountaintop firefighting tactics. Phoenix will take over fire protection and emergency medical service July 1 in Paradise Valley. The town, known for its luxury multimillion- dollar abodes on Mummy and Camelback mountains, has been served by the private Rural/Metro Fire Department. "We're trying to get ahead of July 1 so we have a plan in place on how to deal with challenges," said Phoenix Fire Department Division Chief Mike Sandulak. Piccione's company will build the new home for the Stewart Horejsi family. Demolition of the current residence will take 6 to 8 weeks to complete, and it will take 2 ½ to 3 years to build the new home, he said. The former Helmsley home was built in the early 1980s. She sold the home in 2005 for $8 million, after buying it in 1988 for $6 million.At about 1,940 feet above sea level, it is the highest hillside home in Paradise Valley, said Bill Mead, the town engineer. The new home will be the second-largest in the town, surpassed only by the McCune Mansion, he added.