Cheney Free Press -

By SHANNEN TALBOT
Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights buys building for firefighters

 

Last updated 10/4/2018 at 3:56pm



The city of Airway Heights finalized a property purchase last week of a building to be used for firefighter housing and training, according to city officials.

The city acquired the identical building behind the Airway Heights police station at 13315 W. 13th Ave. for $230,000.

The structure will eventually be a facility expanding the resident program for the Airway Heights Fire Department, Fire Chief Mitch Metzger said.

The new building will be transformed into a home for a small crew of volunteer firefighters, who will be allowed to live there at no charge. Residents will be required to pull more shifts than regular volunteers in exchange for the city paying the rent.

“Basically, they can live there rent-free in return for going on calls,” Metzger said.

The fire department currently has 51 volunteers, but when it needs to send out multiple engines, it may not have enough volunteers on site to man both right away. This could cause a lag between when the first and second engines arrive on-scene. With the new building in use, a second crew will always be available and multiple units will be able to respond to incidents simultaneously.

“The goal is that the facility will be their primary residence,” Metzger said.

The facility will have four beds at first, though may have up to six depending on funding. It will also have a kitchen and living room and will eventually house a training room and workout area that can be accessed by both police officers and firefighters.

The chance to live there will be offered to existing volunteers first and will be based on experience. All those who want to stay there must have a Firefighter One certification, have their EMT license and be able to get their driver certification within six months of taking up residence at the new facility.

Interested volunteers can submit a letter of interest with proof of their certifications to apply.

“This helps guys that may want to be career firefighters one day, and gets them used to the processes they’ll be going through,” Metzger said.

There will be rules governing the facility about visitors and alcohol.

“It can’t be a college dorm, it’s not going to be that type of lifestyle,” Metzger said.

If not enough applications from current volunteers come through, there will be a chance for volunteers added from the outside to get the spot, though Metzger hopes living in the space will be a coveted opportunity.

The building’s purchase was just approved, but the city intends to complete the majority of the project by the end of the year, Metzger said.

Shannen Talbot can be reached at shannen@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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