Boyle County firefighters no longer will have to settle for limited training locations once their new facility opens by summer.
The fire department is eligible to apply for state and federal grants each year, said Lt. Jim Harris, and so far has been given $50,000 toward the project.
Harris said those grants include $30,000 from the State Fire Commission, $10,000 from Lore Brewing Co., and $10,000 from the fire board of trustees.
“The need for a training facility has gotten greater each year,” Harris said, adding that retired chief Paul McChrystal and current chief Donnie Sexton have worked to obtain funding to start the project.
So far, the facility consists of six large shipping containers that make up a three-story, 45- by 90-foot area behind the fire department headquarters on Lebanon Road.
The facility is cost effective and practical considering the containers are all metal, Harris said.
“It can be used over and over again with minimal damage,” he said.
Harris said the facility will be set up with props such as a kitchen, a bathroom, windows and doors. Rapelling ropes will be added, as well as a forcible entry that will “simulate what it would be like for a firefighter to kick in a door.”
Chief Sexton said every division of the fire department, such as Hazmat and Search and Rescue, will have a training component in the facility.
“Once you get the facility up, there’s almost no limit to what you can do with it,” Sexton said.
Sexton and Harris said the facility will serve as a regional training center and offer classes to surrounding counties.
Firefighters from those areas will be able to freely use the facility and be safer on the job as a result.
“The more we can train, the better we’ll be able to save lives and our own lives,” Harris said.
The facility will make it easier for firefighters to achieve their required training hours and certifications.
The important thing is pulling together as a community, Harris said.
“This is a step in the right direction,” he said.
All of the construction of the facility has been done by volunteers. Harris said the goal is to complete the project by this summer.
To reach that goal, Sexton said the department will need about $50,000 more in grants.