NORWAY — Local firefighters have a new training building at the former Frost Hill stump dump and landfill off Route 117, Matt Buckley, president of the Oxford Hills Fire Training Center, said. It’ll be used for the first time Thursday.

“We’re going to hold our first training using the new building at 5 p.m. Oct. 11,” he said.

The purpose of the building, which looks similar to a shipping container, is to train in how fire behaves and how to extinguish fires, Buckley said.

It’s been a long time coming.

“The three local fire departments of Norway, South Paris and West Paris have come together to build the Oxford Hills Fire Training Center,” Buckley said in an email Wednesday night. “For over three decades there has always been talk of the need of an area to train, but no success in getting it done. With the hard work and commitment of the three fire departments we have purchased one shipping container” and had is fabricated with the help of Bancroft Contracting Corp. of Paris and High Tech Fire Protection in Poland.

“As of right now, with one container, we can only burn hay and pallets per (National Fire Protection Association) laws. We are trying to reach out for donations to help build the center to what we need. Eventually we would like to add more containers to make it bigger and add search areas. We are currently working on obtaining props for roof venting, chimney fire, search and rescue, (rapid intervention team) training and more,” he said.

Buckley, a deputy chief with the Norway Fire Department, said members of the center, selectmen from Paris and Norway, and members of the Norway-Paris Solid Waste Board have been working together to ensure firefighters have a sufficient training site. They settled on the Frost Hill site, which closed in December 2016 on the recommendation of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection because of groundwater contamination.

“The site has been closed for a few years now, but all parties involved believe this to be an ideal use of the property,” Buckley said.

The location is also seen as a benefit.

“Training in our area is hard as we have to send firefighters an hour or more away from there towns for training, leaving towns more understaffed than we already are. With a close area to train in, this will help with the retention of firefighters and hopefully help with recruitment of more firefighters.”

The burn building was purchased from Shipping Containers of New England of New Hampshire, Buckley said. Local fire departments can use it by contacting Buckley at [email protected]

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