Reed, Shekarchi, Casey present

grants to northern RI fire training facility


STATE HOUSE – Today U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) joined Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Rep. Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket) presented a $50,000 legislative grant to the Greater Woonsocket Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid Association. In conjunction with a $45,454.55 FEMA grant secured by Senator Reed, the money funded a state-of-the-art live fire training center to be utilized by fire departments across northern Rhode Island.

Representative Casey, a Woonsocket firefighter, presented the check to Chief Robert Seltzer of the Smithfield Fire Department. Senator Reed, Representative Casey, and other legislative leaders then toured the new training facility, which is adjacent to the fire station.

“We’re grateful to Senator Reed, Representative Casey, and all our representatives for helping secure this grant,” said Chief Seltzer. “Fortunately, the number of fires is down. But that means our skills can get rusty. This new facility will have real heat, real fire and real smoke, which will provide invaluable training for our firefighters.”

Previously, firefighters in northern Rhode Island trained in exercises with simulated fire. The new facility, two 40-foot containers in an “L” shape, will allow for live burns. Firefighters can therefore train in search-and-rescue operations and firefighting operations in more challenging, and realistic, conditions. The facility, located at 15 Log Rd. in Smithfield, will be utilized by firefighters from Woonsocket FD, Lincoln FD, Lime Rock FD, Cumberland FD, North Smithfield FD, Harrisville FD, Oakland-Mapleville FD, Central Falls FD, North Providence, Johnston and Smithfield.

“Our brave firefighters and first responders are there for us every day and deserve our full support,” Senator Reed said. “I’m grateful for the work they do and glad to be able to help provide this training facility.”

“As a firefighter, I know how vital proper training is to help us serve our communities,” Representative Casey said. “I’m glad we were able to come together to get this done for all the people of northern Rhode Island.”

Senator Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island 01) also helped secure the FEMA grant. The legislative grant was secured with the support of the entire northern Rhode Island House delegation including Representative Casey, Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6 Providence, North Providence), Rep. Ramon A. Perez (D-Dist. 13, Providence, Johnston), Rep. Edward T. Cardillo Jr. (D-Dist. 42, Johnston, Cranston), Rep. Deborah A. Fellela (D-Dist. 43, Johnston), Rep. Gregory J. Costantino (D-Dist. 44, Lincoln, Smithfield, Johnston), Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket), House Minority Whip David J. Place (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester), Rep. Brian C. Newberry (R-Dist. 48, North Smithfield, Burrillville), Rep. Jon D. Brien (I-Dist. 49, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland), Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland), Rep. Brian J. Rea (R-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester), Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence), Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls), and Rep. Brandon T. Voas (D-Dist. 57 Cumberland, Central Falls).

The total cost of the project was $111,000, with local departments making up the $15,545.45 of remaining costs.