$6.1 Million Project New Home Offers More Opportunities for Fire Personnel
(Thursday, May 17, 2007) – “This facility we dedicate today is a far cry from a wooden wall that once stood behind City Hall,” said Little Rock Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr at the dedication of the new Fire Training Academy. “Over the years, the LRFD has done an outstanding job of training not only Little Rock firefighters, but fire personnel throughout Central Arkansas. With this new building and drill ground, we now have the facilities to match the excellence of our instruction and the men and women who use it.”
Among the features of the new training facility are:
- A ten acre drill field. Five acres are paved and the other five acres are used to train on unpaved surfaces
- A six-story tower with attached two-story burn building which also connects with a one-story burn prop making over 3,000 square feet of training area.
- The drill building has two live fire props on the ground floor with a third live fire prop on the second.
- The drill building is equipped with smoke generators to enable a realistic but controlled training exercise.
- The concrete pad area surrounding the building is used for multiple apparatus drills and the closed loop hydrant system does not interfere with city water users. The closed loop system is also used for annual testing of pumps to comply with ISO regulations.
- Other props on site include two simulated vehicle fires as well as a room fire prop using Class ‘A’ (common combustibles).
- The pit fire is fed, as are all live fire props, by propane in either gas or liquid form which is non polluting and easily controlled.
- There are two (2) emergency hydrants painted red in case the closed loop system might lose power or pressure. This is an NFPA requirement. It should be noted that all LP props are NFPA compliant as well.
- Inside the building are two classrooms (one named in honor of former Chief Rubin Webb), offices for the Department’s Training Division, and wellness equipment.
- The building also houses Fire Station 17, the City’s Office of Emergency Management, and secured archive space for the City.
Housing City facilities is the third distinctive use of this 102,000 square foot structure, which was built as the Timex watch plant in the 1960s. Following the plant’s closure, it was converted into an elementary school for the Little Rock School District.
The $6.1 million project was funded by the 2004 Capital Bond Program. It replaces the previous training facility at 7414 Doyle Springs Road, which opened in 1969. That site had smaller classrooms and a drill field roughly one-tenth of the new area. It was also located in a residential neighborhood which limited the types of exercises that could be offered.
-- 30 --