Fire Department Training Facility construction continues

Fire Department Training Facility construction continues

rom the left are John Loftus, John Hansen, Jeff Davis, and Jim Morris discussing work the men will be doing to finish the Training Facility being built by the Owego Fire Department off of McMaster Street in Owego. The project is being done completely through donations, Loftus said, no taxpayer monies have been used at any point. (Photos by Rick Stilson)

Former Owego Fire Department (OFD) Chief and long time member Ed Franz, who passed away last October, was immensely proud of one project which began to take form during his last tenure as Chief in 2012. The training facility being built next to the railroad tracks off of McMaster Street in Owego, N.Y. was Chief Franz’ prize project.

When vandals ‘tagged’ the then empty shell with spray paint, Chief Franz was immediately on the phone, describing the damage as though someone had driven a Mack truck through the building. It’s hard to visit the developing site without thinking fondly of Chief Franz.

Work goes on at the Owego Fire Department Training Facility, now with another long time Owego firefighter overseeing the project. John Loftus has rallied friends and neighbors to complete the training facility, which is almost ready for occupancy. The past weeks have seen water and gas lines run to the building, which is no longer an empty shell.

The walls have been insulated, and framing work is being done by two volunteers who have been active in the fire department and know Loftus. John Hanson and Jeff Davis have undertaken the task of building the interior walls. It’s an important task, and as the facility nears completion a milestone for OFD approaches with the training facility’s opening.

The Owego Fire Department has been without a kitchen area since the flood of 2011. The old kitchen was downstairs at Central Station at the corner of North Venue and Temple Street in the village. That kitchen, along with classrooms used for training, were destroyed during the flood. Having a kitchen is important for food preparation during long calls like this spring’s fire at Wagner Lumber, which saw firefighters on scene for over 12 hours.

Fire Department Training Facility construction continues

A few days later Davis and Hansen had framed out the kitchen and bathroom areas inside the Training Facility off of McMaster Street in Owego. John Loftus has noted that after the recent installation of water and gas electric service will be installed, followed by sheetrock and ceilings. An open house is planned for Oct. 18.

Classrooms are equally important, allowing in-house training and visits by experts to beef up training of firefighters. The training facility has always been planned as a multi-use facility, and Loftus hopes community groups and neighboring fire departments will find uses for the new building when complete.

Loftus is planning an open house for Oct. 18, 2014. There will be an appreciation celebration for families and children from noon until 3 p.m. that day, with a barbeque starting at 5 p.m. Live entertainment is going to entertain during the evening barbeque, Loftus said, along with a beer tasting by local craft breweries. Everyone is welcome to come and see what’s taking shape off of McMaster Street on Oct. 18!

Donations are still being accepted for the training facility building fund, and interested persons are invited to send a check to Owego Fire Department, 178 Main St., Owego, N.Y. 13827. Checks should be made out to the Owego Fire Department.




Fire Department Training Facility construction continues

hese workers from E.E. Root & Sons Contracting are unloading pipe for water service installation at the OFD Training Facility off McMaster Street in Owego on Sept. 2, 2014.

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