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Watkins fire department plans new training building

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen Fire Department plans to soon put in a portable building that will be used as a training facility. The Watkins Glen Village Board approved to allow the department to move on to the next step of the project at their Monday, Dec. 21 regular meeting.
The building would be a fully portable wood unit, and would be placed on the grass behind the current firehouse at 201 North Perry St. in Watkins Glen. The unit will be about 24 feet by 24 feet which will be about the size of a two story, two car garage, but without roll-up doors.
This building will allow the fire department to do different training programs, such as for air pack training, ventilation training, wall reaching, defined space training, forcible entry, and other programs like going through mazes and manhole simulation. The fire department has previously been traveling 20 minutes away to Himrod to participate in these programs. This is, however, not very ideal since the trucks and men are so far away from the village at these times.
Even though the New York State Frederick L. Warder Academy of Fire Science is right down the road in Montour Falls, it is tough to get in to train because the building is being used just about every night of the week.
The fire department has already sent a letter to the railroad company asking for permission to put the building in place, and have received a signed letter giving them permission to do what they wish as long as the building is at least 15 feet from the railroad tracks.
The portable building will not cost the village anything. Mayor Judy Phillips and Trustee William E. Smagner addressed their concern about how the building would affect neighbors around the fire house. A noise issue will not be a problem, because the department will follow their regular training schedule, there will be no power in the building, and the building will point away from residents. Trustee Nick P. Kelly added that a back-up generator would make more noise than this.
The contract for the portable building will ensure that the building will be put in place and moved whenever the fire department or the village wishes to do so. The fire department doesn’t want a permanent building to stand in the way, so in the future accommodations that need to be made to the fire house can be done easily.
The contract will also require the Watkins Glen Fire Department to pay for any damages that occur to the building, which they are willing to agree with. They also want to reassure village residents that they won’t leave an eye sore sitting there if the building is damaged by weather. Village board members also encouraged that the department choose a company that is close by, so problems could be addressed quickly.
The portable building will be locked at all times when it is not being used. It could provide some added storage for the Watkins Glen Fire Department as well.
Code Enforcement Officer Gordon Wright will have to approve the facility before any more steps can be made. In the meantime members of the fire department will discuss details such as choosing a company for the building to come from, now that the board has given them permission for the building. Village Clerk Donna J. Beardsley is also looking into insurance options.

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