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Fire/rescue training center needed, chief says

A fire/rescue training center is needed in McDuffie County, says Chief Bruce Tanner.

The fire chief discussed the need for such a facility during a public safety committee meeting Feb. 16.

Already, local fire officials have looked at 2-3 acres off Mount Pleasant Road, which Chief Tanner says would be ideal for building a training center -- one that could help teach firefighters, as well as dive team members, since a large pond is on the property site.

"We're in tremendous need for a training facility," Chief Tanner told Public Safety Committee Chairman, the Rev. Fred Favors and Member Paul McCorkle, who like Rev. Favors, also serve as members of the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners. "We've collected a variety of training props, but right now we have no place to store them."

Chief Tanner, who was accompanied to the meeting by Assistant Chief Stephen Sewell, said he had recently talked with Thomson-McDuffie Industrial Development Director Mike Carrington about the property site, because it is located on property set up as a county industrial park. That particular property is not suitable for industry, Mr. Carrington reportedly told Chief Tanner.

The big benefit to that is that it wouldn't cost the county any money to acquire the property.

"The county already owns it," Chief Tanner said.

The fire chief said the training center could be constructed at very reasonable costs. He explained that large storage crates -- the kind used to freight merchandise on big ships -- could be brought in and used as for fire training.

In nearby Evans, firefighters with the Martinez-Columbia Fire/Rescue Services use such crates for training purposes. Firefighters with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services have used that training facility in the past.

Chief Tanner went on to say that he wasn't advocating that anything be done this year, "but maybe we could go ahead and have an agreement to accept the property from the economic development board, if the city also agrees."

Web posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010

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