Thursday, July 19, 2001

Boone chiefs begin planning fire training center

Issues are cost, what to include

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        BURLINGTON — There will someday be a place in Boone County where certain people can yell “Fire!” in a crowded room without being arrested.

        Boone County fire chiefs are in the beginning stages of figuring out what a new fire training center should look like and how much it would cost.

        “The Boone County Fiscal Court pledged to help us with a training campus,” said Burlington Fire District Chief David “Ernie” Biddle, president of the county fire chiefs association.

        Last week, Boone County Fiscal Court decided to spend $1.7 million for a 60-acre site on Bullittsville Road near Idlewild Road. The new county jail and law enforcement center are expected to be there as well.

        Boone County's center would be the fourth in Northern Kentucky, joining facilities at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Kenton County in Covington and Campbell County in Highland Heights.

        Chief Biddle said only the 10 Boone County departments — Airport, Belleview-McVille, Burlington, Florence, Hebron, Petersburg, Point Pleasant, Union, Verona and Walton — would use the new center for now.

Facility features
        The Boone County chiefs also know pretty much what their center is likely to contain:

        • A multistory tower for training with ladders. Florence Fire Chief Tom Ollier said his department now goes to Covington for that and to conduct agility tests for recruits.

        • A pit where pumpers can conduct annual water pressure tests. Chief Ollier said his firefighters now have to find a pond or other body of water to conduct the tests.

        “We (would) have a clean tank and a concrete apron we can drive up to,” he said.

        • Enough space to teach firefighters to drive the pumpers and ladder trucks.

        • A “live burn” area to learn how to extinguish a blaze.

        • Space for “rescue props,” where firefighters are taught such things as escaping from a burning building or rescuing a construction worker from a collapsed trench.

        Chief Biddle said Wednesday that cost estimates should be ready by this fall.


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