Construction gets underway on $15 million Fire Training Center in Plano

A rendering shows what the training center will look like once complete in 2021. (Courtesy Plano Fire-Rescue)
A rendering shows what the training center will look like once complete in 2021. (Courtesy Plano Fire-Rescue)

A rendering shows what the training center will look like once complete in 2021. (Courtesy Plano Fire-Rescue)

Image description
Staff in the city of Plano, including (from left) Deputy City Manager Jack Carr, City Manager Mark Israelson, City Council Member Shelby Williams, Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Ricciardelli, City Council Member Maria Tu, City Council Member Rick Grady, Deputy City Manager Greg Rushin and Fire Chief Sam Greif, ceremoniously broke ground on the training center Oct. 9. (Courtesy Plano Fire-Rescue)
The city of Plano broke ground on its new, state-of-the-art Fire Training Center Oct. 9.

The $15 million center will be located at the northwest corner of McDermott and Robinson roads immediately south of the recently completed police department substation. Firefighters will use the facilities to practice responding to real-life scenarios, such as structure fires, hazmat emergencies and rescue missions.

“We have found ourselves doing things I never would have dreamed firefighters would be doing when I got into this service back in the ’80s,” Plano Fire Department Chief Sam Greif told the Plano West Rotary Group at an Oct. 6 meeting. “These things happen, and we have to be prepared for them when they do.”

Each level of a six-story tower will represent a different environment, such as a residential high-rise apartment, a corporate office and a professional-grade kitchen, Greif said. Propane-powered fires will be accompanied by artificial smoke, he added.

“It dissipates as soon as it hits the atmosphere, but when the windows are closed it gives us the occluded vision we need to simulate what we are going to be facing in a real-world situation,” he said.


The tower will also house a basement and an elevator so firefighters can train for extractions, he added. The model home built on the property will include different roof angles and internal floor plans that pose various challenges, Greif said.

“We’ve tried to think of everything you can think of that would be a real world scenario,” he said “It will be unlike any other fire training center you’ve ever seen.”

The need for the facility was precipitated not only by Plano’s growing population but also by evolving types of occupancies, Greif said. Staff formerly used the training center at Collin College in McKinney, but that option is no longer viable due to the time it takes firefighters to get back to home base.

“There is a reason why almost every city has its own fire training center,” he said. “It would be great if you could share [this resource], but the reality is no one wants to be that far from their home and have that much difficulty getting back.”

An at-home training center will also make it easier for the department to maintain its Level 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office, which determines property insurance costs, Greif said. Response times for emergencies are also expected to improve since staff will remain inside city limits rather than traveling to McKinney for training, he added.

Above all, Greif said the training facility, which is expected to be up and running within 12 to 14 months, will equip firefighters to handle any curve ball thrown their way.

“You don't want us pulling out a book when we get there trying to figure out what it is we are supposed to be doing or how we are going to affect that rescue,” he said. “We need to have that literally as muscle memory.”
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


MOST RECENT

The chain has several restaurants in Texas, including two in College Station. (Courtesy I Heart Mac & Cheese)
I Heart Mac & Cheese coming to Highland Village; Gyro Shop opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Denton County has been hosting mega vaccination clinics at Texas Motor Speedway. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Denton County COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward

Denton County is begining to see a "slight improvement" in COVID-19 cases, according to Matt Richardson, director of public health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Daniel Stockton, Frisco ISD's executive director of government and legal affairs (left) reviews a chart tracking positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff since November at the April 12 school board meeting. (Valerie Wigglesworth/Community Impact Newspaper)
Frisco ISD updates quarantine guidelines for COVID-19

Frisco ISD has updated its guidelines for close-contact quarantines related to COVID-19.

Community Impact Newspaper staff
$21M in rental assistance available in Denton County through Eviction Diversion Program

This eviction diversion program aims to prevent homelessness during the pandemic by helping tenants to stay in their homes and compensating landlords for unpaid rent.

The expanded pre-kindergarten program was discussed at Frisco ISD's board of trustees meeting on April 12. (Valerie Wigglesworth/Community Impact Newspaper)
Frisco ISD full-day pre-K program to expand for 2021-22 school year

Frisco ISD is opening registration on April 19 for an expanded full-day pre-kindergarten program for the 2021-22 school year.

Innovation studio.
AT&T opens 5G innovation studio in Plano

The studio, announced by AT&T April 8, will work to further the adoption of 5G technology into key areas of life, including sports, retail, education, travel, the public sector and small businesses, a company release shared.

Early voting will run from April 19-27, and election day will be May 1. (Liesbeth Powers/Communnity Impact Newspaper)
Informational town hall scheduled for upcoming Plano bond election

Members of the public can participate in and ask questions about the $364 million bond and its six propositions either in person or remotely.

Collin County has launched its Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide residential rent and utility assistance for county residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Collin County offers assistance to renters and landlords affected financially by COVID-19

Collin County has launched its Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide residential rent and utility assistance for county residents.

LA Burger food.
LA Burger to celebrate 5th anniversary in Plano

The restaurant offers burgers with Korean flavors and ingredients, such as kimchi and Korean barbecue.

Dunkin' serves coffee drinks, doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, muffins and more. (Courtesy Dunkin')
Dunkin' to open in Richardson; Mad for Chicken coming to McKinney and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Jim's Pizza is relocating to Eldorado Parkway. (Community Impact staff)
Jim's Pizza relocates in McKinney; ice pop shop coming to Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.