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Fresno Fire Training Center Includes Swift Water Rescue Facility. What It Might Look Like.

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Fresno officials say the new fire training center's swift water rescue feature will be the first one west of Texas. (Shutterstock)
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Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis has long desired a first-class fire training facility, for more than two decades by her account. Thanks to money supplied from the state budget, she’s going to get it.

“Finally, after so many years, the call to invest in the Central Valley’s fire service was heard,” Donis said. “The regional fire training center will serve the Central Valley and the entire region of the fire service and its members for years and generations to come.”

The city announced $25 million in state funding at a ceremony to announce the proposed location at Central and Hayes avenues, southwest of the city. The state-of-the-art facility will be built on 80 acres of city-owned land, adjacent to the existing police training facility.

“I have a goal to never lose a firefighter in the line of duty — easy to say, hard to do. And it requires us to put our money where our goals are, and that is to be able to build this training facility for them, not only our Fresno Fire Department, but for all of our regional firefighters that are going to be taking advantage of this,” Mayor Jerry Dyer said.

WATCH: Fresno Officials Announce Fire Training Facility Funding

Only Water Rescue Training in the West

The new fire training facility would replace the current 85-year-old site. It would also be able to accommodate 10 times as many trainees at a time, up to 200 compared to the current 20.

Firefighters would train in dealing with hazardous materials, search and rescue, and railway emergencies. But, Donis was most excited about swift water rescue training. It would be the only such type of facility west of Texas.

“This will be a premier destination for fire training in the Central Valley and on the West Coast.

WATCH: Swift Water Training Course – Fort Worth, Texas

No Firm Timeline on Construction

Dyer said there is no exact timetable on when the training facility will be built, as it depends when the state money comes through. The city has already invested about $400,000 in designing the facility. Dyer expects construction to last 18 months once started.

While the money will be funneled through the city of Fresno, the fire training facility will be open to fire departments across the Central Valley region at no additional cost because it is funded with state money. However, other fire departments may chip in for training instructors.

“I am one of the cooperative partners in the region that this particular fire training center will have a massive impact upon,” Kingsburg Fire Chief Daniel Perkins said.

Dyer said building a larger training facility near Fresno will keep firefighters closer to home.

“The more time that they’re traveling, the less time that they’re fighting fires,” Dyer said.

Fresno’s new Fire Training Facility is expected to include a unique, on-site swift water rescue course. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, who helped secure the funding, said funding training is a way to combat climate change by being prepared to fight fires.

“It’s going to be an investment for all of California, not just the Central Valley, not just Fresno. Because an investment in Fresno, an investment in the Central Valley is an investment in all of California,” Hurtado said.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email