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Donation increases scope of Streator fire training facility

Streator’s upcoming fire training facility has received a boost from an anonymous donor.

The Streator City Council approved $300,000 in Tax Increment Financing funds towards the construction of the facility, which has now been boosted by a $65,000 donation.

Fire Chief Gary Bird detailed the three-story structure planned for 10th Street, which is planned to include two burn rooms for simulated fire training. The rooms will incorporate real heat and smoke while also having the ability to add props such as furniture to recreate the process of searching a residential home. The structure also will have forcible entry doors and windows, a rappelling station and a confined-space tube.

A majority of the donated funds will be used for concrete for driveways and sidewalks but also will be utilized for additional furniture, audio-visual equipment for classrooms, landscaping and a fence.

The project is available for bid, with Bird saying it could be complete by late fall.

Bird said additional phases are planned for the building, which could take an additional two years.

It’s also expected the facility will help lower the department’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating. The fire department is working towards a five-year goal of reducing the rating from a four to a three, on a 10 scale.

The independent company rates fire departments on its ability to put out structure fires, investigation skills and public education which also lowers homeowner insurance rates as the ISO rating drops.

Bird suggested the facility is unique to the area and as such they hope to host public safety classes for other agencies in the area which can then help recoup expenses on the facility.

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