Firefighters will hone skills at new Huntington training site

Originally published Feb. 12, 2009.

A firefighter training facility, paid for with a state grant, could begin drawing firefighters from throughout northeast Indiana and beyond to Huntington as soon as this summer.

The training facility will be located on five acres behind the Huntington County Highway Department, says Brandon Taylor, director of the Huntington County Emergency Management Agency. Although the highway garage is on Riverside Drive, he says, the entrance to the training facility will be off Indiana Street.

"This will give us a chance to train on things we can't get normally because there's no place to do it in," Taylor says.

The facility will be built from four modified shipping containers filled with burn rooms, mazes and staircases, Taylor says.

"We will be able to do live burns, search and rescue, ventilation, rope rescue training," he adds, listing only a few of the techniques area firefighters will be able to refine at the facility.

The training center will be used by the Huntington Fire Department, all Huntington County volunteer fire departments and other departments from throughout northeast Indiana. Special training sessions could bring in firefighters from all over Indiana, Taylor adds.

It's being built with a $100,000 grant from the District 3 Fire Training Center, part of the Indiana Firefighter Train-ing System established by Gov. Mitch Daniels. The grant is funded through a tax on fireworks, Taylor says.
District 3 includes Lagrange, Steuben, DeKalb, Noble, Whitley, Allen, Adams, Wells, Huntington, Wabash and Miami counties.

The training center in Huntington will serve mainly Wells, Wabash, Miami and Huntington counties and is one of three hubs in District 3, Taylor says. Other district hubs will be located in Allen and DeKalb counties, he adds.

The District 3 grant is for $100,000 and will cover the entire cost of building the training facility as well as an auxiliary building to house a fire truck and additional training equipment. Although a fire truck will be at the site, Taylor says, it will not be a manned fire station.
County Highway Department crews will put in a parking lot and a concrete pad will soon be installed to serve as a foundation for the training facility, Taylor says. The facility will be completed by July, he says.