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Groundbreaking ceremony held for Hunterdon County Emergency Service Training Center’s new burn facility

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Hunterdon County) – The Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners, joined by Chiefs from the County’s Fire and Rescue Volunteer squads on October 18 held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Burn Training Facility to be constructed at the Hunterdon County Emergency Training Services (ESTC) site in Clinton Township.

The ceremony was hosted by the County’s Office of Emergency Management and Public Safety Director, Brayden Fahey, who was joined by County Board Director Susan J. Soloway, Deputy Director Lanza, Commissioner Matt Holt, Whitehouse Station Fire Company No.1’s Past Chief Tim Apgar, the President of the County Fire Chiefs Association, other County Fire and Rescue Chiefs, and representatives of Fire departments, law enforcement, and emergency services from around the County.

The new four stories tall, 5,500 square foot burn building will feature live fire training with Class A and Class B burn rooms, two flashover areas, a simulated elevator for rescue training, equipment for confined space training, including simulators for a kitchen and attic, and multilevel rappelling training. An 85,000-gallon water storage tank with pumphouse will be constructed for building sprinkler use and multi-site fire hydrants.

“We want Hunterdon County’s emergency responders to have the best training and to be the most prepared as possible, for all the many emergency challenges they could confront. And the burn building is a major step in the process of developing the infrastructure and tools for that training,” Board Director Soloway said.

Deputy Director Lanza, liaison for the county’s Public Safety Department, said, “As the Board’s Public Safety liaison for three of the last four years I have seen first hand the outstanding work performed by all first responders, the rescue squads, fire departments, the County OEM, dispatchers, and law enforcement, particularly in response to the pandemic and the recent hurricane.

“We are consistently ranked as the safest county in the state. That is not a result of luck, geography or happenstance. It is because of our first responders: our people and their preparation. This facility will help our people better prepare even better for the dangers they face so they can continue to keep us safe,” Lanza said.

Commissioner Matt Holt, who has been a supporter of the ESTC upgrade plan for many years, said, “This has been a project in the making for the last six years and it is finally happening. The new burn facility will transform the way Hunterdon County trains first responders for generations to come.”

Chief Apgar, who comes from a family with a long history as Hunterdon County first responders, told attendees at the ceremony that the new building will be an important training facility for future firefighters, like the ones in his family and others in the County.

“The new facility will help all in the future when it comes to training and saving lives when duty calls,” Apgar said.

Joining Chief Apgar at the event were – Vice President of the HCFCA, Robert Emery, Past Chief of the Annandale Hose Company, Jeffrey Smith, Past Chief of the High Bridge Fire Department, and Deputy Chief, H. Bucky Buchanan, South Branch Emergency Services. Also joining the ceremony were Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred Brown, Prosecutor Renee Robeson, Holland Township Police Chief Sean Gutsick, Clinton Police Chief Cory Kubinak, and Timothy Drew, Chief of Detectives for the County Prosecutor’s Office.

The groundbreaking ceremony initiated the structural events to start construction and Joseph Diaco, owner of Grade Construction, the contractor, was also in attendance at the event.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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