Farmington Fire Rescue Department received a grant to build a live-fire training building. The facility will look similar to this rendering by Alexys Greenman, Hailey Rose and Bradie Reynolds, students in the graphic arts program at Foster Career and Technical Education Center in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — A $539,964 grant for 2020 has been awarded to the Farmington Fire Rescue Department to construct a regional live-fire training building for firefighters, law enforcement, student firefighters and emergency medical responders.

Some details of the project are still being ironed out. The 2½-story steel building with an attached four-story stair tower will have two burn rooms with special fire safety linings in them so that burns can take place multiple times, Bell said.

Training exercises that could be done include confined rescues and rappelling drills.

Students in the Firefighting Program at Foster will also use the building for training.

Some earthwork has already been done by firefighters on their days off using borrowed equipment, and some help was given by the town’s Public Works Department, Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell said. More earthwork needs to be done.

The Maine Fire Service Institute drew up bid specifications and Farmington applied for one of the two designs developed for the building.

“It is going to increase training opportunities,” Bell said.

He said the grant was awarded by the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission on Monday in Augusta.

However, the concept and plan has been in the works for about 10 years.

In 2018, the 128th Legislature created a law that established a fund to support construction and repair or replacement of regional live-fire service training facilities in Maine.

A total of $1.5 million was authorized over three years under the law. In exchange for managing the funds, the Maine Community College system was to receive $67,500, leaving a balance of $1.43 million. The grant was to allow for the full or partial funding of the four top-scoring projects.

The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors unanimously voted in 2014 to accept a proposal presented by Farmington Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell to use about 1 acre of the district’s property for the training facility. The land is off Seamon Road. A metal building will be erected on property between the district’s practice field and the Mt. Blue Campus.

The building will meet the standards of the National Fire Protection Association, Bell said Friday.

A Western Maine Public Safety Training Facility group was formed and has met for a couple of years. It is made up of fire departments in Franklin County. Memorandums of understanding were also submitted by fire departments in New Portland, Livermore Falls, Dixfield, Peru, Wayne and Vienna.

An account has been set up to accept donations through the Farmington Firemen’s Benevolent Association at Franklin Savings Bank at Mt. Blue Campus.

Donations are needed for more earthwork and upkeep of the facility through the years, he said.

Anyone who wants to donate can contact Bell at 207-491-3235 or donations can be mailed to Farmington Firemen’s Benevolent Association at 153 Farmington Falls Road, Farmington, ME, 04938.