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County Fire School Upgrade Draws Praise

State Senator John McKinney and others in Fairfield County have been working for months to find money for upgrades at the regional fire training facility in Fairfield. The school trains firefighters from all across Fairfield County. Last week 250,000 in funding was approved for the project by the State Bond Commission.

"It is impossible to overstate the importance of a well-trained firefighting force, particularly in our region of the country," McKinney, who represents Easton, Fairfield, Weston and Newtown, said in a release, adding that the old facility was outdated. "Connecticut firefighters make a daily pledge to put their own lives at risk to protect the property and lives of others and to be our first responders in the event of a natural disaster or act of terrorism."

The new facility, at 1 Rod Highway off Reef Road in Fairfield, will be in the same location and will continue to be used to train volunteer and career firefighters from around the region in cutting-edge firefighting skills, as well as basic instruction. The majority of the teachers are from the Fairfield Fire Department. Assistant Fire Chief Chris Tracy has said the upgrades are much needed.

The facility was originally built back in the 1960s and has not seen many upgrades since. It consists of two small buildings, that are basically the size of trailers. The plans are to replace everything except the four-story burn tower. There will be new flash-over simulators, trench simulators, a confined space rescue simulator and more.

Other Democratic state legislators also applauded the project in the joint press release. State Rep. Tom Drew, who represents Southport and Fairfield, said "there has been an urgent need for a new state-of-the-art training facility and I am pleased to see we are now moving forward."

Rep. Kim Fawcett, from Fairfield and Westport, said "The brave men and women will benefit from proper training as will the people the protect."

Rep. Tony Hwang, from Fairfield and Trumbull, said that although money must be spent responsibly, firefighters need the training. "It [the money] goes toward improved training for the firefighters that keep our communities safe ... and further empowers these men and women to protect the public and remain active in the cities and towns they call home."

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