JOPLIN, MO.--- "We got to travel some distance sometimes. And sometimes it's just not safe due to old structures, you never know what you are going to find in them, how safe they actually are," said Jim Furgerson, Joplin Interim Fire Chief.
In 2006, a public safety sales tax was passed in Joplin to help build a training facility for local first responders. Eight years later, the facility still doesn't exist.
"Due to the tornado, you know, this project was always on the fore front and it kind of got pushed back with the tornado and, and us having to rebuild some stations," said Interim Chief Furgerson.
"Currently, we send our officers and our equipment to other cities like Tulsa or St. Louis for that training. Now, we can do it here in house," said Morris Glaze, Joplin Mayor Pro-Tem.
The Joplin council accepted a construction bid last night for a four story training tower to be located in the southwest lot on Swede Road.
"It's a cost savings to us. Also saves on wear and tear on our fire trucks and police cars when they go to those, those sites to be trained," said Glaze.
The facility will feature thermal lining for heat training, as well as movable walls for different structure scenarios. Interim Fire Chief Jim Furgerson says he wants his crew to be able to deliver top notch service to those in need.
"Us training is just not any different than practicing. You know, we want to stay up to date on the latest techniques. We want to make sure we get it right, and training is how we do that," said Interim Chief Furgerson.
The overall cost of this project is more than $690,000 and will be built by a group from Overland Park, Kansas. Furgerson says all planning and construction on the tower could take up to a year to complete.