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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Eastern Connecticut Lawmakers Announce Funding for Regional Fire Training School

State Bond Commission approves funding for Eastern Connecticut Regional Fire Training School in Willimantic

Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), Senator Cathy Osten, Representative Linda Orange and Representative Susan Johnson today announced the approval of bonding to fund the renovation of the Eastern Connecticut Regional Fire Training School in Willimantic. The State Bond Commission met today and approved the funding to assist with this critical, long awaited renovation.

“Our firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our homes, businesses, and save lives. It is absolutely critical that we ensure that they have the facilities and the tools they need to train our fire fighters to fight fires safely and effectively,” said Senator Flexer. “My colleagues and I have fought for years to ensure that this funding is made available for the Eastern Connecticut Fire Training School. These improvements are desperately needed and our fire fighters have waited far too long for a modernized training facility that is needed to keep eastern Connecticut safe. I’m thrilled that this delegation working as a team with firefighters from throughout eastern Connecticut have been able to secure this much needed funding.”

“I’ve got 14 volunteer fire departments in my district, and every single one of them will benefit from the training that this fire training school will provide,” said Senator Osten. “Firefighters need to be up to date on the latest procedures for fighting fires and for keeping themselves and the public safe. They volunteer to put themselves into such extreme circumstances, and put themselves through traumatic events that most people seek to avoid, so they deserve a facility to help them do their best.”

“Windham is proud to be home to a fire training school that serves not just our town, but the entire Eastern Connecticut region. We have worked for years to obtain this much-needed funding, and I’m excited that Eastern Connecticut firefighters will now benefit from an improved facility and increased training availability in the region,” Representative Johnson said. “Turning this into a facility that can provide expanded training opportunities is an investment in our firefighters’ safety and in the safety of all our region’s residents.”

“I have been fighting this battle for more than a decade—since we broke ground on the regional fire school in New Haven in 2006. It is amazing that we are finally moving forward on the Eastern Connecticut Regional Fire Training School,” Representative Orange said. “Our first responders will be able to train and learn closer to home instead of driving an hour to another facility. This is an important step for the training and safety of local firefighters.”

“The release of this funding will allow for an effort to revitalize the facilities at the Eastern Connecticut Fire School that began to work through the Legislative Process during the 2001 session. This heavily used, aging facility, constructed in 1954 has fallen into disrepair and is no longer able to support quality training. The proposed upgrade should provide a state of the art training facility that should serve well into the Twenty First Century. This school is the only regional fire training facility east of the Connecticut River and serves nearly one third of the fire departments in Connecticut,” said Al Hawkins, President of the Eastern Connecticut Fire School.

The Eastern Connecticut Regional Fire Training School provides fire and rescue training for the fire department of New London, Tolland and Windham Counties. It is the only regional fire school east of the Connecticut River, and serves 49 towns, with 97 public fire departments.

The funding approved by the State Bond Commission will allow for the construction of a 13,984 square foot administration, educational and vehicle maintenance facility. A new 6,981 square foot Class A Burn Building, a new Training Tower, and a new Rehab Shelter including new fire training props will also be constructed. Approximately 315 people will be employed in new or existing construction-related jobs for this project.

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