The Granville Engine & Hose Company #1 is eagerly waiting to break ground on its new training facility that will feature a unique design and offer several real-life simulators and techniques.
After starting the project in January 2021, Fire Chief Ryan Pedone said six steel Conex boxes, also known as shipping containers, will serve as the structure for the facility.
Three containers on “pillars or piers” will be the base, followed by two containers on the second floor and one on the third floor. Pedone said the facility will be readily accessible, easy to navigate and sustainable.
“Our goal is, within the next couple of weeks, to be breaking ground,” Pedone said. “I’m hoping we have it at least functional by fall time.”
The agency’s initial idea was to place the Conex boxes on a concrete pad. Pedone said he consulted with Jason Preisner of Lamont Engineers and decided the piers/pillars approach would be more cost efficient by saving money on the amount of concrete needed.
“That was the reason for the holdup on breaking ground last year, it was that we found a more cost-efficient way of doing this,” Pedone said. “This is an undertaking that our company has taken on and that our members have wished for.”
Pedone said five of the six containers have been acquired so far with transportation assistance from Hulett’s Trucking. Four of the Conex boxes came from Cornell University in Ithaca for $100 each and one from Dorset Fire Department for an undisclosed but described “minimal amount.”
Granville Engine & Hose Company $1 was also approved by the Granville Village Board to receive $25,000 for the project out of additional American Rescue Plan Act funding. Pedone said so far, the department has spent close to $6,000.
The department’s goal is to collect all six boxes and stack them all in one shot on the property of the old carnival grounds off Park Avenue.
There will be the ability to change the direction of the fire “to prevent a different level of difficulty” for firefighters of all experience levels. Additionally, Pedone mentioned roof ventilation and forcible entry simulators, training on different room designs and staircases and bailout techniques out of windows from elevated heights will be key features.
With the former building used for fire training, Pedone said the mortar in the concrete was breaking and that the structure became too small for training despite having served its purpose.
“The tower that was down there on-site, I think it was constructed in the 1980s, “Pedone said. “(With a new facility) we wanted to incorporate everything we have now, but better.”
Granville Mayor Paul Labas said he is excited to see the local department do what they can to better themselves and the members of surrounding communities.
“I think that Ryan and his officers of the Granville Engine & Hose Company have done an impeccable job of operating and maintaining their equipment and their training in the village of Granville and surrounding communities,” Labas said. “I just see it as, this is a company that is forward-thinking… I’m extremely proud and happy to see it.”
Hebron fire chief Jeremy Harrington said his department had a training facility built last year and that Hebron allows neighboring fire companies to access and utilize its functions.
“My philosophy is, always train for the unexpected so when something bad happens you are prepared,” Harrington said. ‘You can never get enough training. Things are changing every day with technology. The way new houses are built and new electric cars coming out, the ways we fight fires are different than 10 years ago.”
Pedone also said he would make the training facility open to other departments for training purposes.
“I do see the opportunity to work and train with Granville,” Harrington said. “We already work mutual-aid calls with them and work very well together. The residents of Granville should be very proud of the #28 house! Ryan Pedone and his crew are very well trained and are very good at what they do.”
In 2015, New York State released a “Best Practices” guide that goes through all the standards and procedures for both interior and exterior firefighting. Pedone said the training facility will help align the department’s training and goals with the guidelines provided.
“This facility is only going to help with what the state says we have to do,” he said.