Training Facility Developed From Old City Buildings
Without adding any burden to the taxpayers, the Port Jervis, N. Y., Fire Department built a drill ground that includes a fire training building, tower and flammable liquid pit.
Realizing that the efficiency of a volunteer fire department depends largely on its training program, Chief John R. Hosking initiated a plan in 1971 to build a training center. At that time, Port Jervis was no longer using two acres of land that contained buildings and a large smokestack used to burn waste materials. Hosking took his proposal to Mayor Sidney Sakofsky and laid the groundwork for the city to deed the property to the fire department for development as a drill ground.
After Hosking retired in 1972, Chief Donald DeVore continued efforts to build the training complex. Fire fighters removed the corrugated metal roofs of two buildings and replaced them with shingled roofs. They also removed the smokestack and began renovating the building interiors to suit their needs. A 30 x 30-foot building was made into a classroom with heating and air conditioning. Audio-visual aid facilities were installed in this room.
An adjoining 30 x 60-foot building, which had a gas furnace and first-floor toilet facilities, was fitted out with movable partitions on the second floor for heat and smoke drills.
The drill ground borders the Neversink River, so a wide roadway was cut to the river and a pad was installed to allow pumpers to draft from the river.
A 20 x 20-foot concrete block tower was built for ladder and rescue work as well as training in the use of standpipe systems. Forcible entry and ventilation also are taught in this tower.
With the exception of the five-story tower, which was constructed with revenue-sharing funds, all materials were paid for by the fire department which had set up a special training account in 1960. Fire fighters supplied the labor, working many long hours on weekends, evenings and holidays.
Flammable liquid pit
The fenced drill ground also includes a 20 x 40-foot flammable liquid area for training apparatus operators. A 22 x 75-foot pavilion was built to protect observers of training sessions from the weather. It can also be used as a serving area for firemen’s outings or fund raising events.
The training center was dedicated September 16, 1975.
Recently elected Chief Charles Baumgardner and his two assistants, Robert Dunn and Michael Innella, have continued to support the training facility and plans are now being drafted to construct a helicopter landing pad there.
The Port Jervis Fire Department has eight companies and protects 10,000 persons in the city and 6000 more in two adjoining fire districts. The department has five pumpers, the newest of which is a 1250-gpm with an articulated boom; a 100-foot aerial; a rescue and salvage vehicle; and a fire-police van.