Hope To Begin Live Fire Drills Soon
The Mercer County Fire Protection District is building a training facility at Station 12 in McAfee. They are putting the finishing touches on a T-box training facility next to the three story tower that’s already there.
The new facility will allow the district to conduct various types of training at the same time. On one side they can conduct fire suppression training, teaching firefighters who to put down a fire, and on the other side they can run search and rescue drills.
“It will afford us the ability to train under live fire,” said Ric Maxfield, chief of the fire protection district.
He said they are one of the few departments in the state with multiple facilities that can handle multiple training evolutions simultaneously.
When the facility is finally operational it will improve by “leaps and bounds” training for county firefighters.
Maxfield said Dep. Chief Lewis Sexton has taken the lead on construction while Dep. Glenn Phillips has taken the lead on acquiring materials. He said firefighters have been working on the facility in their spare time. In particular, he thanked Jamie Keebortz, Blake Sexton, Chris Wexler, Christian Keebortz, Josh Bradley, Justin Railey, Vernon Collins, James Roff and Tim Middleton.
“We wouldn’t be able to do it without the deputy chiefs, with major help from our firefighters,” Maxfield said.
The chief said they hope to begin using the facility within the next few weeks.
“Each compartment is different,” Maxfield said “We need to be sure we understand what it’s going to do before we do a live fire drill.”
Several of the districts train on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at the training center.
Maxfield said they’ve had difficulty recently acquiring houses they could use for live fire drills. He said two houses couldn’t be used for live drills after it was determined they contained asbestos.