Johnstown, PA, Training Facility Reinstalled at New Location

Feb. 21, 2024
Johnstown Assistant Fire Chief Jim McCann said they will use the additional space to enhance training scenarios.

Feb. 21—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The Johnstown Fire Department will soon once again have its own training facility to use within the city.

The three-story, six-pod red metal structure is being reinstalled by JWF Industries this week on a piece of ground near Murdock and Oak streets in the Hornerstown neighborhood. The building was previously located on Iron Street, but it needed to be moved when Hanging Gardens, a medical marijuana growing business, took over the property that was once Bethlehem Steel land.

Officials from the city and fire department spent more than two years finding a suitable site and developing plans to reinstall the unit. Going forward, the JFD plans to make upgrades, including adding fencing and connecting to a water supply, using money from a $100,000 state grant.

No firm date is set for when JFD will start training at the location.

JFD Assistant Chief Jim McCann said getting the facility back up and operating will help firefighters develop their skills and protect residents.

"We were able to still continue with our mission to train, but this facility just enhances our ability and allows that training to go to a different level," McCann said. "Now with this facility going back together, the reconstruction process of it, we'll now have a larger (land) area to train in. We'll be able to bring in different training elements that weren't even available due to the size of our old (site). Now we'll be able to bring in additional training aspects, more geared toward the technical rescue side of our training."

Johnstown City Manager Ethan Imhoff said, "The construction of this training facility will allow the fire department to continue (its) mission of providing high-quality training, and be prepared to handle emergencies, keeping those who work, live and visit safe."

Firefighters will be able to use the structure for ladder, hose line, live fire, rope rescue and confined space training. They will also do other training, such as vehicle rescue, on the accompanying land that the city purchased from the Cambria County Conservation District.

"(The training) encompasses a lot of what we do with our job," JFD Chief Robert Statler said.

Statler added: "With having it back up, that allows us to do a lot of the training we've had to improvise on over the past couple years or not do. The training site was nice because it gave us a lot of flexibility on what we could do, training the guys on a daily basis so they were keeping up their skills."

International Association of Fire Fighters Local 463 President Eric Miller said the structure will not only be "a great asset for the city" but will also benefit other fire departments.

"Outside of the city, they'll be able to train there also," Miller, a Johnstown firefighter, said, "but, for us, as far as the city goes, it's going to be a big asset because for the past three years, we really didn't have a safe place to train."


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