SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new training facility for western Massachusetts firefighters has been opened in Springfield. A dedication ceremony for the state’s new Department of Fire Services building was held Tuesday morning. Local and state officials, along with area firefighters were in attendance.
The $13.4 million project was built on the site of the former Springfield Fire Training Center, which was bought by the state from the city. The site has been transformed into a state-of-the-art training facility for firefighters from across our region.
Lt. Governor Kary Polito said, “This is a first class facility but it took years of real focus from the Mayor from the Senate President, from leaders and Chiefs to make this happen in western Mass.”
The first firefighter recruits to use the facility began trainig in mid-November. The 6-acre campus includes a three story live-fire training prop burn building and a five-story training tower. The new 18,000 square foot building that has been built includes classrooms, lockers, showers and three fire apparatus bays.
“This campus will be a full service one stop shopping for firefighters and the needs of the fire service in the western part of the commonwealth.”State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said it is something that they have been looking to have for more than 25 years. “So what we have here today, which we lacked for many years, is a brick-and-mortar facility for the western part of the state for firefighters- to bring them together at this location to learn basic skills, hone basic skills, to learn technical skills and management skills- to be active and professional members of the fire service,” Coan said.
Previously to receive the type of training they are receiving in Springfield, firefighters would have to travel to Stow, in Middlesex County.
Holyoke Fire Chief John Pond said, “Now we have the facility close enough for local firefighters to go get trained. It saves each municipality a lot of money.”
The facility also provides space for the Massachusetts State Police Fire Investigation Units.
The Springfield Fire Department training staff is also housed in the building as part of the partnership with the state.