December 6, 2007
Oswego County Takes Ownership of Fire Training School
Now that the state Public Service Commission has approved the sale of the former Niagara Mohawk Fire school to the county, we can get started on making the facility the best fire training school in New York State.
It’s been almost three years since the county, working with state Senator James Wright, National Grid, and the Public Service Commission, began the process of transferring the fire training school to the county’s jurisdiction. The transaction was finally approved by the Public Service Commission Nov. 13.
The school is comprised of nine buildings on a 20-acre site on East Seneca Street in Oswego. It was originally built for training workers at Niagara Mohawk’s steam stations and nuclear power plants near Oswego. It was sold to National Grid in 2000 and is no longer needed by that company for fire training purposes.
With the assistance of Senator Wright, the opportunity became available for Oswego County to purchase the facility at a nominal cost of $20. According to the Public Service Commission, the school is valued at nearly $1.7 million. Senator Wright also leveraged a $100,000 grant for the county to use to make any necessary repairs to the buildings.
Our emergency workers can use this facility for specialized classes in live fire training, smoke drills, confined space training, fire protection systems, and Homeland Security weapons of mass destruction training. Currently, our firefighters travel to the state Fire Service Academy in Schuyler County for technical training, as well as to adjoining Onondaga and Jefferson counties for live fire training evolutions. The training facility will also be available for industrial fire training. We hope to attract much of the former industrial customer base including the nuclear power industry and several other area industries.
County Fire Coordinator John Hinds and his staff will coordinate the re-opening and use of the facility. A spring 2008 reopening of the facility is anticipated, with the fire coordinator’s office moving from its present location in Fulton to the newly acquired Oswego site. Plans call for the facility to be phased into operation throughout 2008.
It’s essential that first responders receive the training they need, and we are very fortunate to already have this facility in our county. I want to thank the members of the fire service, and Fire Coordinator Hinds, for their patience through this long process.
We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the efforts of Senator Wright, members of the Legislature’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee, chairman Tom Bullard, vice chairman Milferd Potter, James Bryant, Barbara Brown, Kevin Gardner, Margaret Kastler, Leonard Ponzi and Paul Santore, as well as County Attorney Richard Mitchell and officials at National Grid and the Public Service Commission for their assistance in making this project a reality. Our firefighters certainly deserve it.
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