By Nicole Jones
A fire training “burn building” project will likely go up next year at the fire department’s training grounds on Veterans Drive south of Walnut Street.
The project is now entering the design phase.
“This is a specialized building, a big leap forward for our fire training,” City Manager Clay Pearson said. “These are infrequent but high risk situations that we need to train for and different from our existing training tower.”
With pitched roofs, the two-story, 2,800-square foot structure can be used to simulate various high risk conditions. The structure is designed to create realistic, live structural fire scenarios to teach basic and advanced firefighter skills such as fire behavior, locating and advancing on fires, hose tactics, search and rescue, ventilation, flow path and fire dynamics, forcible entry, and ladder access and rescue.
Pearland City Council on Nov. 25 approved a $128,550 design services contract with Virginia-based Elliot, LeBoeuf & McElwain.
Councilman Woody Owens expressed concern over hiring an out-of-state companies vs. local ones.
“This is very specialized and we don’t want someone who doesn’t have the right experience to design something we’re going to be putting our people on top of,” Pearson responded.
The training facility was included in the 2019 Bond Referendum passed by voters in May 2019
New technologies have led to buildings and furnishings containing significant amounts of plastics and other synthetic materials that burn hotter and more rapidly than in the past, city documents note, adding, “Live fire training is an essential element of firefighter education to prepare for these dangerous conditions that may be encountered in the field. The Fire Department does not currently have a means of conducting such training other than to travel to facilities outside of the City, incurring overtime costs, possible scheduling conflicts, and additional charges or fees for the use of these facilities.”