The Streator Fire Department Training Center is now open, providing a safe and controlled environment to train local firefighters for a structure fire.
The training center was made possible due to the Jim Rhodes family donating nine acres of land on West 10th Street along with funds donated from Bill and Peggy Harrison. The training center will be open for use to many other regional fire departments and volunteer fire departments.
“We built it with the plan of being a regional training center,” said Streator Fire Lt. Bryan Park. “Other departments are welcome to come and use it. We are also going to try and bring in instructors from universities and private companies to help train.”
Park said there are forms volunteer units can fill out and they will only be required to pay for the consumable items they use.
Streator Fire Chief Gary Bird said the new training center also helps the department’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) score, which can help lower local home insurance rates.
“Having the three-story unit and training allows us to achieve our training hours every year and they’ll see that when they come to re-evaluate us in 2020,” Park said.
The fire department plans on having four burns per year, most of which will take place in the spring, summer and fall to avoid ice and cold weather.
“In the past, we’ve used props for training, but now we’re going to have a space to go and do it safely,” Bird said. “It’s nice to have a home base as far as training goes.”
The training center was made possible because of the community donation.
“They’re the biggest reason why we’re here,” Bird said. “We’re planning an open house sometime in late spring as there are still a couple of touch-ups that need to be done.”
The department will have its first official training shifts for its firefighters starting Monday, April 22, through Wednesday, April 24.