LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) — The Longview Fire Department’s new training facility is under construction and making progress. The burn building is now finished, but there is still quite a bit of work to do before they start utilizing their new location.

“Because of rain, it does have us on some delays as far as when we’ll get to start using the facility. Right now, we still have to get a lot of the infrastructure in, we have to get the water down here, we have to get the roadways put in that will support the fire apparatus, electricity, just several things like that before we can start doing live fire training,” said Kevin May, Longview Fire Marshal.

In 2018, a bond package was approved by voters that allocated more than $50 million for police and fire facilities. $2 million were dedicated to a fire training burn building and multi-use training center.

May said that the building cost approximately $980,000. 

Their previous training field in Longview is no longer in a condition where they can use it to burn.

“Dealing with some antiquated and some really, what had turned into some unsafe structures during the year,” said J.P. Steelman, City of Longview Fire Chief.

Steelman explained that they need a more industrial facility.

“There’s new methods that come out, new equipment that comes out that needs to be and stay familiar with and be testing to find new and better ways to fight fires safely,” said Steelman.

May shared that once the facility is finished it will greatly increase the amount of training.

“This is a multi-story building that can be used for several different types of training evolution,” said May.

He added that firefighters from all across the country will come to the new location to complete tank car training.

“Live firefighting drills, search and rescue drills, we can repel off this,” said May.

If the weather does not cause a significant delay, project completion is planned for the spring of 2024.

“Appreciative of our public here in Longview supporting us with this project, and it’s part of our commitment to making sure that we maintain a fully equipped and trained firefighting staff to respond to their emergencies,” said Steelman.