Western Technical College debuts Burn Tower

SPARTA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Unlike the immortal words of Billy Joel 'We Didn't Start the Fire', in this case Western Technical College did start the fire at the grand opening of their new burn tower.

"The second year students told me that they're thinking about retaking firefighter, you know the first year, over again so they can play in the building all year. It's been really pumped to get it going, there's been some excitement," said Fire District Coordinator for Western Technical College Blake Deiber.

Planning started 18 months ago and the cost was just shy of half a million dollars.

The tower is nearly 5,000 square feet and is four stories tall.

With the tower, Western Technical College can simulate fires in houses, apartments and practice search and rescue.

"They train a lot of repelling, which scares me personally, but is such a crucial part. But what I was pleased to see was how much attention was paid to safety alright, and also how that's paid for, the taxpayers, to take care of the facility so that it's reusable," said Western Technical College President Roger Stanford.

The tower has a lifespan of three decades.

Before Western's own burn tower, they would use burn tower's that belong to Fort McCoy or the La Crosse Fire Department.

"We had to work around Fort McCoy's schedule and between Fort McCoy and the other Fire Departments that are using facilities, the reserve programs and everything else, sometimes it's a little hard to get in there, plus the logistics of moving. So with this here on campus, if Bob has a class going and he goes 'you're not getting what I'm teaching let's just go out and do it', all he's got to do is just walk out his back door," said Deiber.

Now the 20 students in the program can get hands on experience whenever they need.

As the band The Trammps would say, Burn Baby Burn.



 
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