The Española Fire Department is getting a new training facility

ESPAÑOLA, NM (KRQE) – Firefighters in a New Mexico town had to travel for their training. This will change as soon as they get the long awaited benefits. “This has been a dream at the Espanola Fire Department since we became a career department,” said John Wickersham, Assistant Fire Chief of the Espanola Fire Department.

The city of Espaola said they are excited to finally have a facility where their firefighters can receive hands-on fire training in their own backyard. “Right now, if you want any kind of live fire training, you have to go to Socorro. This building will give you a Fire One certificate,” says Wickersham.

The Espaola Fire Department said the facility will help them prepare for real fires because it simulates a variety of scenarios. “You can actually come from above and go down to simulate a basement fire. Then there’s five stories to fight it,” Wickersham says.

The city purchased the barn building for $700,000. Funding for the tower came from capital expenditure money.

This is the first phase of the project. The second phase will include building a new fire station with state funding. “It will have living quarters on one side. The other side will have huge training rooms with showers, lockers and bathrooms,” added Wickersham.

The city hopes to have the tower completed by August and said it will be a center for nearby stations to train their department. “It’s important not just for the City of Española Fire Department, but for all the different volunteer fire departments,” said City of Española Mayor, John Ramon Vigil.

The department said each firefighter must spend 18 hours a year in a live training facility. The city said it could also benefit residents because having firefighters trained locally could lower insurance costs in the area.

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