Fire district officials will look to a new site to build a new fire and police training facility due to “significant issues” in the area near the city’s wastewater lagoon.
According to City Administrator Russell Rost, a training tower could possibly be built behind the Union Fire Protection District House No. 1, located on Springfield Avenue.
“They will try and build behind their property,” he said. “They thought it was more feasible.”
Fire Chief Russ Hamilton approached the city last month to propose a joint training facility that would serve fire and Union police. The proposed site was north of the wastewater treatment site off of Highway 47 south of Highway 50.
However, after closer examination, plans were scrapped, according to Rost.
“There are significant issues at the site,” he said. “There is a large natural gas pipeline that actually cuts across at an angle.”
Rost explained that the buried natural gas pipeline would prevent any building at the site. The site is also near the city’s shooting range.
He added that there are other issues at the treatment plant site, including a sewer main that is located there.
“Even the water supply is not adequate,” Rost said.
Hamilton noted that the two entities worked together to determine if the city property was feasible.
“There were quite a few utilities that run through the property,” Hamilton told The Missourian. “Some we were aware of and some we were not. The city and fire district got together and decided it would be an awful lot of work.”
Hamilton added that the district owns about 5 acres where the training facility may be built.
“The site up here might work out a little better,” he said
Plans call for a training tower with entry-level stackable modular buildings.
Last month, Hamilton said the district already budgeted for the estimated $350,000 training and rappel tower.
Initial plans called for a classroom building, but Hamilton said that may not be necessary because there is classroom space at the firehouse.
“We already have a classroom here with bathroom facilities,” he said. “We have a lot of good things going at Station No. 1.”
Hamilton further explained that the classroom is used by groups in the community and there could be time conflicts.
“We will have to play that by ear and figure it out with time,” he said.
The facility still may be utilized by both police and fire crews.
“Even though it is on our property, we still want to extend that invitation to the police department,” Hamilton said. “They can utilize that facility.”
Police officers could use the training center for low-light scenarios, active shooter type situations and stairway negotiations in regard to domestic disturbances, tactical training, formation training for dynamic entries.
The facility also could be used for training during a meth lab raid.
Fire crews could use the facility to train for live fires, self-contained breathing equipment, high-angle rescues and many other scenarios.
“This will give us the ability to do live fire training, rope rescue work, ladder training, forcible entry training, hose stretching. . .” Hamilton said.
He said that to train for live fire now, the district must find a vacant building and get permission from the owner. There also are stringent insurance requirements.
“This will be on our property in a facility designed for this type of training,” he said. “It should work out well for us — we could recreate live fire training scenerios and we won’t be disturbing anyone else.”