With No Budget Funds Available, Fire Training Tower Sits Condemned

May 21, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Lexington Division of Fire is currently training a class of 26 recruits, but they likely won’t have the benefit of using a multi-story training tower.

Hundreds of firefighters have trained over the years at the five-story concrete building on Old Frankfort Pike to prepare for high elevation situations such as cliffs, office buildings, and water towers.

“Everyone’s not been on the top of a top of a ladder that’s 30, 40, 50 feet off the ground and stepping off that ladder over on top of a building,” says Battalion Chief Ed Davis.

But the deteriorating structure is no longer in service. In fact, it’s been condemned.

“An engineer came in and looked at the building in 2004 and he said that at the absolute max it had a 5-7 year window left. We had him come back a couple of years later and he said actually it’s getting worse. So basically that just took it out of service no matter what we did in 2011,” says Davis.

Officials estimate the cost to demolish the tower is $32,000 $40,000, and another one million dollars to rebuild it. Davis says money was budgeted by the city three years ago to tear down the tower but the bonds were never sold.

The fire department is now looking at the possibility of partnering with a private entity to sponsor the building.