Unusual multi-use fire facility brings training closer to home in Barrie

Barrie's unique new multi-use fire training facility made from a dozen shipping containers is about to open for action.

The unusual 4,320 square foot building on Saunders Road has three levels, mostly in the dark.

Barrie's fire chief said the city looked at several similar projects before going ahead with the build.

"We had seen some other agencies that had built them from everything from small single containers to much, much larger ones than this, almost miniature cities built out of these," said Chief Cory Mainprize. "So we copied some of their ideas worked with our training division and some engineers to create this facility."

The $450,000 training building will allow firefighters to train more often and closer to home at a cheaper cost.

"It will be a great advantage to us," Mainprize said. "No travel time obviously as compared to going out of the city. When we used to use other facilities, we would have to take trucks and other equipment and move staff into those locations. Obviously, the convenience to be able to do it now."

"Having it local is going to make it much easier for all of our crews," noted Kent Johnston, acting platoon.

There is still work to be done before the unit can be used in live training, including building exterior stairs.

Georgian College plans to use the facility for its educational studies. "Some of their firefighting programs already use the other parts of the facility," said Mainprize. "They do their auto extraction here, for example. We're also looking at some opportunities within the county."

The department expects the new multi-use fire training centre to be ready for training in mid-November.