Smoke-Filled Room

There was live fire training conducted in the Union Fire Protection District’s new training tower. Firefighters ignited a blaze in one room of the training center, while others entered the smoked-filled building to extinguish the blaze. The tower is located at Union Firehouse No. 1.

Union firefighters can now train for many fire scenarios just out of their back door.

The Union Fire Protection District erected a new fire training tower at the Firehouse No. 1 located off Springfield Avenue.

There already have been training sessions at the four-story tower, including one Saturday. There were Union, Boles and Owensville, Beaufort-Leslie and Chillicothe fire personnel at the most recent session.

Capt. Greg Miller said the tower can be used for a variety of training, including forcible entry, live burns, rappelling, search and rescue, ventilation, SCBA confidence and confined space.

“Just about anything we may encounter, we can do here,” said Miller. “We have an abundance of resources in one place.”

The training tower allows for fires to burn at temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit. On Saturday’s training there were temperatures of more than 600 degrees.

The tower was made by American Fire Training Systems, Lockport, Ill. The company has been designing and building high-quality, realistic training towers for over eight years, and has constructed some of the largest, most versatile all steel live fire training facilities in the country. Cost of the fire tower was $250,000.

Saturday there were trainers from Oklahoma City in Union who were contracted through American Fire Training Systems, Miller said.

“They showed us how to do anything and everything we can do with the tower,” said Miller, “and how the live burns work.”

According to Fire Chief Russ Hamilton, Saturday’s training also focused on how to use the new tower.

“The training session held Saturday focused on live fire training and breaking in the special designed burn rooms within the tower,” Hamilton said. “Firefighters learned how to properly load burn carts and work the provided air vents to create a realistic interior fire Union firefighters most likely will encounter.”

He noted that live fire trainings requires more personnel, but smaller groups also can utilize the facility.

“Although the live fire trainings require approximately 15 firefighters to perform, there are other training props within the tower smaller groups of firefighters can train with,” Hamilton said.

Local firefighters can now stay in district to train for situations in which previously required them to go to neighboring districts for training.

“Union firefighters should benefit from the proper instruction and hands-on training the fire tower provides with the goal being to build confidence and improve performance,” Hamilton said.

Tower Specs

The training area is 2,340 square feet in size and includes four 40-foot containers and one 20-foot container.

There is one rappel tower with two rappel anchors, a caged ladder, external and internal staircases, and a two-tier maze.

Inside the “burn room” there are floor drains and flush-outs, chains and a ventilation system.

The tower also features a variety of doors and windows that would be encountered in different buildings, as well as ventilation windows.