The Indianapolis Fire Department has an immediate need for a primary training facility, and they are looking to Wayne Township to help them out. A two-year lease with Wayne Township Schools will give the department access to a facility that has the largest training tower in Central Indiana.
"This flasher we're training on used to be at the airport. We moved it here because it's no longer available out there. We do recruit training here, and this is no longer going to be available," said David Decker, Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief.
"We were really under the gun by losing 16th and Arlington. We had no place for this upcoming class," said Decker.
He is talking about a new recruit class that they hope and need to bring on board by the first of the year. The last time they had a new class was in 2008, and the department is below the recommended staffing level.
"We're 22 positions below that now. We're anticipating another 17 retirements at the end of this year, and we have about that many at the beginning of next year," said Brian Sanford, Indianapolis Fire Department Chief.
"We build the fire on the upper level that simulates the first floor of a home," said Mike Pruitt, a spokesman for the Wayne Township Fire Department. Thursday, he gave Fox59 a tour of their facility which sits on 60 acres.
"The lease we just entered into with Wayne Township will give us stability for the next couple of years," said Sanford.
The site includes a seven-story training tower with search mazes, a HAZMAT pad, confined space and trench rescue training areas among other vital tools.
"That will alleviate 80 percent of our problems with resources, travel time, and things of that nature," said Decker.
IFD is waiting to hear back about a SAFER grant that would pay the salaries of the new recruits for the first two years they are employed.
"I absolutely think it's a step in the right direction," said Sanford.
The city is expected to spend about $200,000 to use the facility over the next two years.