About The Project

People who are serious about a career in firefighting need a serious program of study. At Central Arizona College (CAC) Fire Academy that’s just what they get. The 16-week program includes 225 hours of instruction before being eligible for state certification testing. During that time students learn about Fire Science, Hazardous Materials and Wildland Fire Training. They also spend many hours on The Deputy Chief training tower in fire fighting simulations.

“We conduct live fire, search and rescue, exterior laddering, and horizontal and hydraulic ventilations on The Deputy Chief,” says Lon Spencer, M.S., fire science director at the Fire Academy located in Coolidge, AZ. “In addition, students set up hose lines in stairwells to simulate lines aloft in high rise incidents and rope equipment hoisting training exercises using the all-steel building.

“The all-steel structure was installed in 2008. Each year we train our firefighter recruits on it, plus up to 200 firefighters from regional area fire agencies and about 150 law enforcement personnel.”

Diversified and Durable

Manufactured in Wisconsin, the three-story Deputy Chief tower has four working decks. The structure resembles a residential building, but with a 30-foot tower for rappelling and laddering. Two burn rooms allow firefighters different scenarios for dealing with live fire. The main floor burn room is largest, while the second floor burn room simulates a bedroom fire. The smaller room is also used to teach firefighters how to operate and interpret thermal layering using Thermal Imaging Cameras. Over the years, the CAC Fire Academy added an additional room for a smoke generator and the Fire Watchman pyrometer temperature monitoring system.


“During the past 15 years that we’ve had the Deputy Chief we’ve graduated more than 500 students from our program,” says Spencer, a retired member of the fire service with 39 years of field experience. “Most of our students come from Arizona. And many of the graduates move on to getting hired at several of our regional fire departments. Some of them even come back as instructors at our facility.”

Full Schedule for Training Tower

The CAC Fire Academy has a staff of 10, all of whom are current firefighters or fire officers. The staff is needed to help with students along with regional fire agencies training at the building. In addition, law enforcement agencies also make use of The Deputy Chief facility.

“The Fire Facilities structure has held up pretty well over the past 15 years,” says Spencer. “If another fire academy asked about the Deputy Chief, I’d tell them to give serious consideration toward purchasing one of these buildings.

“Factors such as the many models and styles available, plus how they’re assembled, and the flexibility of use to develop numerous simulations all make this building very versatile. Lastly, the financing assistance available makes this manufacturer a serious provider.”

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