New $1 Million Training Facility Approved For Fire Department

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Fort Smith Fire Chief Mike Richards request for the city to sign off on a new four-story training tower for firefighters was approved at Tuesday's (June 17) Board of Directors meeting.

"We can do live fire training that is the primary purpose of the building," Richards said. " It's unlike anything else in this area we can set a fire in certain parts of the building and simulate real heat real smoke."

Plans for the new facility have been in the works for quite some time, according to Richards.

The new facility will be built out near the city landfill. It will be a four-story building, equipped with a two-story burn room and have a pavilion including outdoor classrooms, Richards said.

The new facility would come at a price tag of more than $1 million, which would come from Act 338, according to Richards. What that means is most of the construction costs would be paid for by the state's fund for fire departments. Additional funding would come from a sales tax that voters approved back in 2012, Richards said.

The chief said the new facility is greatly needed because crews currently don't have anywhere to practice drills or train in Fort Smith. Instead, Richards said crews have to find a vacant street and pretend one of the homes is on fire.

"With the new training tower, we will be able to do live fire training both in fire simulated above them upper floor or below them in the lower floor," Richards said. "We can`t do those types of training whatsoever now."

Richards said the new training tower will be built within the next year.




  • Johnny Sixpack

    Yet the police department has nowhere to train either. Not even a shooting range, they have to go to other departments ranges. Love where the city’s priorities are

  • Bud

    If you want a top notch fire department (police to) give them a place to train. Not only will their skills increase, but also their professionalism and pride in their jobs. Show them they are worth it.

  • No excuses

    Fort smith will just raise taxes to pay for it if they can’t get their money from some other place. That seems to be their solution to everything. It’s only $XX per year and most people won’t notice. I guess if you are one of our big fat scamming directors and mayor you wouldn’t notice it on your taxes.

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