Point Pleasant Fire Company #1 got a truly great present for its 98th birthday this year — a 30-foot tall The Fire Chief training tower. The structure was first put into service on May 22, 2022 by members of the all-volunteer fire company to enhance their live fire training skills.
“Fortunately we don’t have many structure fires in our area,” says Battalion Chief/Training Officer Will Dobron with Point Pleasant Fire Company #1 in Point Pleasant, Pa. “That’s specifically why it’s so important for us to have a building where we can train for live fires. We need to continually hone our skills so that we’re prepared to make an aggressive attack when a fire does occur and our firefighters are called into action.”
Selecting Fire Facilities
The Fire Chief tower selected by the Point Pleasant Fire Co. #1 features a residential-like design. There’s a burn room on the first floor with interior stairs leading to multiple floors. The 60-foot long structure features an interior ships ladder, roof-mounted chop-out curbs, and parapet roof guard with chain opening. The Fire Facilities structure is made of all-American steel and designed for multiple training exercises, including hose advancement, fire attack, search and rescue, rappelling, laddering, confined space, and high-angle rescue operations.
“We specifically invested in this Fire Facilities structure because, after much research, it seemed to be the closest building to a structure that you will see on the streets,” says Dobron, a fourth generation firefighter. “The smooth walls allow you to ladder anywhere on the building. We compared this to competitor’s buildings where they are corrugated and need to have metal plates installed for a smooth surface for ladders to be placed, which is inconvenient. In addition, the building has a more residential look and fits into the landscape of our community better.”
Dobron relates that the process to procure the structure took about four years. From initial planning to completion included many meetings with the township to gain approvals. “For funding, we were fortunate that past members made wise investments over the years,” says Dobron. “That made it possible for the fire company to purchase the training tower.”
Preparing for Service
Getting to the point of having a new Fire Facilities tower all began back in 1924 when the Point Pleasant Fire Company #1 was started. A group of concerned citizens formed the volunteer department after a local fire destroyed a store because area firefighters were too far away to help. Since that time the department has relied on volunteers to keep Point Pleasant safe.
“Our training in the past was on an old homemade tower, along with a 40-foot overseas container for search and rescue drills,” says Dobron, a 14-year firefighter veteran. “When available we’d use acquired structures too, but they were few and far between.
“With The Fire Chief, we’re looking forward to the variety of training scenarios we can perform in this building. From the normal live fire training, search and rescue, ventilation and laddering to rappelling, there’s lots of options.
“We custom designed the three-story tower to be 18-feet long to give ourselves more room to work around the floor door area in the tower. This will help us with confined space rescue training. Every aspect of using The Fire Chief is dedicated to helping make our volunteer firefighters more skilled and prepared for handling real emergency situations on a daily basis.”