Campaign begins for live fire training facility


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — The City of Greenville Fire Department is joining forces with fire departments throughout Darke County to be better prepared. Greenville Fire Chief Russ Thompson presented a program to Greenville City Council on Tuesday, March 7 regarding the proposed County Fire Training Facility.

Chief Thompson shared the Darke County Fire Chiefs Association has begun its CHIEFS’ Campaign (Communities Helping Improve Education of the Fire Service). The Association is currently working to raise funds to establish a live fire training facility. The cost of the facility is expected to approach $1 million. Thompson said the cost for the buildings is approximately $750,000 plus infrastructure costs.

Twenty-one departments are involved with the campaign, including some from neighboring counties. In total, approximately 465 firefighter personnel will have access to the facility. This group of departments provides service to nearly 95,000 residents.

To save money, Chief Thompson said the complex will be built using metal shipping containers. If they were to build a steel structure, they believe the cost would be double. The chief shared that whether they use the shipping containers or a steel building, both have a life expectancy of 20-25 years.

In the past, fire departments have relied on property owners donating homes for live burns. However, stringent guidelines on departments and homeowners has diminished the number of donations they have received in recent years. Strict regulations, financial restraints, logistical challenges, uncontrollable environment and safety issues have made live fire burns impractical.

According to Thompson, the advantages of the Fire Training Facility are a huge benefit for local residents. Not only does it allow the departments to have an effective fire service, but it also reduces injuries and death to civilians and firefighters. Through this type of training, they can also reduce lost time injuries and compensation claims, property damage, and property lost and business interruption. The training can also improve firefighting efficiency, and training capability, as well as improve the public image of the fire service, fire service recruitment and retention and Insurance Service Office (ISO) ratings for fire departments.

Thompson is unsure how long it will take to raise the funds needed, but pointed out that if each person in the area these departments serve gave $10, they could raise $950,000 easily. They are hoping businesses and corporations will step up to help meet the need. A 3.8-acre parcel owned by the City of Greenville on KitchenAid Way has initially been chosen because of its central location to all the departments involved with the project. The parcel is located north of the city’s transit building.

Different levels of sponsorship are available for individuals and businesses and everything from $1 to over $150,000 would be appreciated. There are different recognitions available for each of the sponsorship levels. They are hoping clubs, schools, organizations, businesses and individuals will contribute.

Chief Thompson explained the Association has the revenue stream to maintain and operate the facility, but they don’t have the capital to build it.

Donations can be made from the Darke County Fire Chiefs Association’s website at with links to PayPal and GoFundMe.

Donation can also be made directly to the Darke County Association of Fire Chiefs at any Greenville National Bank location or write a check payable to DCAFC with CHIEFS’ Campaign on the memo line and mail to Darke County Association of Fire Chiefs at 3157 Byrket Road, Greenville, OH 45331.

In other business, council:

* Continued its stalemate over the zoning recommendation for affordable senior housing on State Route 121. The issue will appear on the next meeting’s agenda;

* Heard additional zoning recommendations regarding Air BnBs and proposed verbiage to the current fencing regulations. A public hearing will be held at the April 18 meeting of council;

The next regular meeting of Greenville City Council will be Tuesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m., Council Chamber, Municipal Building.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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