LAYTON -- Imagine a firefighter without much experience fighting fires. In Davis County's largest city, it's a reality.
"I have some firefighters who have been on the force for five years, with little experience actually fighting fires," Battalion Chief Jared Sholly told the city council during a recent work session focused on plans to build a new training facility/fire tower.
Sholly is excited about what such a facility will do to help local firefighters better prepare for blazes of all varieties.
He thinks the facility will be invaluable to the Layton Fire Department and some of its neighbors.
City officials have set aside $1.1 million for the facility in the current fiscal year budget, but Chief Kevin Ward said the project could be more than a training facility.
He proposed building the training facilty/fire tower and an apparatus building, where key fire equipment could be stored on city land on Fort Lane, across the street from the public works building.
Some of the fire department's equipment is now stored at the Freeport Center in Clearfield.
City Manager Alex Jensen said funding for the training campus has been set aside but plans for an apparatus building haven't been vetted.
He hopes to meet with city staff to review costs and funding issues and to have something the council can consider in the future.
Construction of an apparatus building could cost $220,000 to $315,000, local fire officials said.
In the meantime, Jensen suggested city officials could award the bid for construction of the training facility/tower.
Ward outlined plans for the facility, which will cost approximately $956,673.
The facility is expected to include burn rooms with special liners that can handle temperatures up to 1,200 degrees.
The facility is also expected to feature several special staircases for training in basement fires -- considered among the most dangerous, Sholly said -- and simulating rescues from hotels or apartments.
Firefighters may also practice rappelling off the building, Sholly said.
He said he is excited about what actually laying out hose for a fire will do for the confidence of fellow firefighters.
Currently, they have to use ingenuity in simulating disasters, using props in the parks building.
Ward said Davis County doesn't have a fire training facility and that other fire departments would benefit from having access to one.
City officials had talked about sharing costs for the facility with another city or entity but decided it would be best to go ahead on their own, then possibly make the facility accessible to others.
The facility is also expected to be accessible to students at Davis Applied Technology College in Kaysville.
"The training is only limited to the imagination," Ward said.
He said the department gets about 5,000 calls a year, but more than 80 percent of those deal with nonfire-related emergencies.
The department, he said, handles 15 to 20 fires a year.