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CONSTRUCTION work on Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) new state-of the-art training and community centre in Bury began today with a sod-cutting ceremony to mark the first spade in the ground.
The multi-million pound development on Wellington Street will provide the most realistic training for operational crews and an interactive community facility for the public.
On Monday, May 18, 2015, local schoolchildren from Bury Grammar Schools and St Gabriel’s High School officially marked the start of the build and were joined by dignitaries from Bury Council and the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority (GMFRA), plus representatives from GMFRS and Kier Construction Northern who are building the centre.
The development is expected to take around 12 to 18 months and is set to open at the end of summer 2016.
Chair of the GMFRA, Councillor David Acton, said: “It’s taken us years to get to where we are today – from the idea of having a world-class training facility in Bury to the cutting of the first sod.
“The exciting development will allow firefighters from Greater Manchester – and potentially beyond – to train in the most modern and realistic conditions.
“This will help us to ensure that as we continue to reduce the number of fires and incidents we attend through our successful prevention work, we support our firefighters and officers to maintain their skills and experience of dealing with real fires.
“The centre will also provide a fantastic facility for the community where young people in particular can learn how to protect themselves from fire and other dangers in an exciting and memorable way while gaining an insight into the varied work of GMFRS.”
Existing features on the land will be used such as tunnels and culverts, cellars, bridges, cuttings and embankments, rubble piles and old mill walls, a lodge and a section of river.
In addition, a 'Fire Street' will be created to include a variety of simulated detached and terraced homes and commercial buildings where firefighters can recreate incidents.
Once completed, the centre will allow firefighters to train against every possible incident, including: transport incidents such as tram and train derailments and road traffic collisions, water rescues, incidents involving hazard materials, search and rescue, collapsed buildings and high-rise building fires.
A large warehouse will be transformed into a community hub, which will feature an interactive and immersive learning area for local people to visit and learn about fire safety.
Last week, more than 70 local contractors from various construction disciplines attended an open day at Bury Community Fire Station to learn about the project and how they can get involved.
The development will also create a number of apprenticeship opportunities in construction.
John O’Callaghan, Managing Director of Kier Construction Northern, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with GMFRS to create this unique facility following successful projects in Bury and Rochdale.
“This development will not only provide excellent training facilities for firefighters but will cater for the community and provide opportunities for young people in Greater Manchester.”