ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) - It's three years in the making, but the day finally arrived. Allen Parish Fire District 3 is on its way to getting a new training facility.?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /
While firefighters say APFD3 has about 2,000 residents, the area continues to grow which means so does their number of firefighters. Because many of them work together and train together, they need a larger facility, as they've outgrown their current one.
A groundbreaking ceremony for a new training facility at Fairview was held Wednesday at the District 3 fire station in Allen Parish.
District 3 Fire Chief Les Kolb says, "Today is the actual start date the contractor has."
While it's been three years in the making, Kolb says they need it now more than ever.
"This room that we're in is our current training room. It will seat about 18 people," explained Kolb.
It's become a problem because they now have 40 firefighters. While they moved training into the engine bays for space, the extreme weather makes it difficult.
"Earlier this year we had about 50 people do a medical training class here. We had to do it in this bay; everybody was cold, because we couldn't heat the bay enough to do it. In the summer time, it's just way too hot to do training out there," explained Kolb.
Now they won't have to. The new training facility will be built next door.
"Our training center will be 2,400 square foot. It will consist of an office, an exercise room, restrooms with showers, a full kitchen and the rest is just one big open room for training," said Kolb.
The facility comes in around $215,000; most will be paid for through state funding and grants.
Charles Earl, President of the APFD3 Board says, "The other money will be through grants, or through fundraisers or through the tax base."
Earl, who helped with finding funding, says the new facility could even lower their fire rating.
"The more training that you have, then that goes towards your fire ratings," said Earl.
And Kolb says they do a lot of training from, "Fire-related, medical, vehicle extrication, we also do LSU certified training."
And while its main purpose will be for a training facility, it'll also be opened to the community free of charge.
"Whenever the other groups in this area have a meeting that's too big for their facility, they'll be more than welcome to use this facility," said Earl.
And that could be very soon. The contractor estimates it will take 150 days to finish the facility.
But officials are hoping for a grand opening press conference by Halloween.
For more information, visit http://www.apfd3.org/2013/