ST. JOHN | Needed repairs and renovations at the St. John Volunteer Fire Department’s training facility will now be possible thanks to the Town Council.
The council late last month unanimously approved a $10,000 per year donation over the next six years to the town’s volunteer fire department.
The money will help the department obtain a loan from First Midwest Bank to upgrade and repair the training site, said Steve Kil, St. John town manager.
The training site at the end of Industrial Drive south of Joliet Street isn’t owned by the town but is administered by the St. John Volunteer Fire Department, said Fire Chief Fred Willman.
The training site consists of a two-story burn/smoke building, a drill tower, a railroad tank car, a propane tank, a burn pan, a drafting tank, semitrailers and a lighted paved area for staging equipment.
The two-story burn/smoke building is used to train with air packs, do search and rescue, and work with fire streams. The building is masonry construction and fires can be set on both stories. A state of the art ventilation system can be remotely triggered and completely ventilate the structure in 15 seconds.
A rail tank car sits on a section of track and is used for hazardous material training concerning rail procedures.
A propane tank on the site can be rigged with simulated leaks for personnel to plug.
The drill tower stands nearly four stories and is used for training with such equipment as ropes, ladders, rescue, snorkel and fire stream training.
Other features of the training site are a burn pan where petroleum based fires can be set, studied, experimented with and then extinguished as well as a confined space rescue area.
The department is currently concentrating on completing a storage/classroom building. This will provide an area where fire companies can group and discuss the training as it progresses. This structure also will provide storage space for support material for the training site.
Willman said the facility is available for training by any fire department. The visiting department must have proper insurance, follow accepted protocols, and replenish or reimburse St. John for consumed items.