The new fire training center can be filled with smoke and flames

WINTERSVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – A nearly million-dollar facility opened in Jefferson County today, purpose-built to burn down.

It’s a new training academy for firefighters in Ohio, to prepare them for all the obstacles that stand in the way of a quick rescue.

The ribbon was cut at the Pugliese Fire Training Center in Wintersville today, marking a new era for emergency response in eastern Ohio.

Chef Rob Herrington says hands-on experience for his business used to be an issue.

The people doing the training courses were from outside the area, we had no facilities, so we were meeting, we could use this house this week, and we would not have a house next time .

Chief Rob Herrington, Wintersville Fire and Rescue

The multi-story building is custom-designed for dozens of scenarios.

Trainees can experience real burn zones and flashover training, and smoke can be pumped up each floor.

And they say it’s not just about what they can do once inside the building.

And the great thing about it is that it really doesn’t wear out. Much of it is simply reusable so we can use it literally every day.

Chief Rob Herrington, Wintersville Fire and Rescue

The building will be used the most by students from the department’s Gary R. Fellows Training Academy.

But departments in Jefferson, Harrison and Belmont counties can also schedule sessions there.

It is truly wonderful to be able to dream up something that will benefit not only the ministry of your community, but a larger area.

Chief Rob Herrington, Wintersville Fire and Rescue

Their goal for 2023 is to use it four or five days a week, because fire rescue takes courage beyond the walls of a classroom.

Even with all the danger they can prepare for with this building…there is still work to be done.

They are planning a new structure to teach responders how to do a grain silo rescue.

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