OVERTON, Texas (KETK) – The Kilgore Fire Academy gathered together to celebrate their newest burn building.
On Friday, the Kilgore College Fire Academy and other city officials gathered for the ribbon cutting of the new burn building students will train in.
Michael Simmons Director of the Kilgore College Fire Academy said the building is a significant upgrade from the previous building which stood for about 30 years. The new building has an all steel construction with temperature sensors and new training props.
“The old building served it’s purpose, but it’s certainly nice to see this new facility and the state art features it has,” Simmons said.
The structure was built in Phoenix and took 3 days to be installed after Simmons approved the design.
“We didn’t have to shut down and miss a single class, because were able to get [the building] installed in-between our classes,” Simmons said.
According to Simmons, several students from out of the country have attended the KC Fire Academy and additions like the new burn building helps students to better prepare for working on the scene.
“A lot of my students would come back and be like ‘this place hasn’t changed a bit,’ and it kind of bothered me a bit,” Simmons said. “To me we should always be getting better and changing, so I task my instructors and staff to add something new.”
The building will grow in four phases, according to Simmons. To grow those phases the academy will turn to per donors partnerships and fundraisers.
Some of the additions in those phases will make include add additional boxes in each phase making the building taller as well as a forceful entry simulator, a smoke generation system. Eventually the building will be seven stories tall and students will be able to do aerial apparatus operations, high rise fire fighting to residential operations, technical operations and elevator operations.
“Pretty much once we are done with all four phases, there will be no training we cannot do for firefighters in East Texas,” Simmons said.
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