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Wright Construction building city’s firefighter training facility

By Staff | May 25, 2023

A rendering of the planned city firefighter training facility on Southwest 32nd Street. PHOTO PROVIDED

Wright Construction Group is playing the leading role in the construction of a facility, which advances how Cape Coral will train firefighters for future emergencies.

Wright Construction Group is building the first fire training facility for the firefighters. It also will be used by other fire departments across Southwest Florida to improve training opportunities that are lacking in the area. Sweet Sparkman Architects designed the building.

The $11.6 million project, located on 6.2 acres and near the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility on Southwest 32nd Street, will include a five-story training tower, a two-story residential structure and classrooms for training. Firefighters will be able to train in various scenarios, with controlled flames, smoke and natural gas, while working in various heat-controlled spaces. The spaces will include furnishing like what firefighters may encounter during an event, such as motel, hotel, retail, office and residential configurations.

This is the first time Wright Construction Group is building a structure to be able to withstand flames.

All materials used at the facility are safe and non-toxic. The fire is created using designed propane fire props. This is a clean burning gas like what is used in home grills. Smoke is created using a smoke-simulator. It is non-toxic, dissipates quickly and is the same used recreationally in theater performances and concerts. Because of the different types of heat-related, smoke and gas-filled environments that will exist, the proper exhaust systems, wall thicknesses and other critical structural and safety features will be built to strict safety standards.

Cape Coral Fire Chief Ryan Lamb made such a facility a priority for his department. Firefighters are required to do 192 hours of company training,18 hours of facility training and six hours of hazardous materials training each year, according to the Insurance Services Office. The training also includes six hours of hazardous materials.

Because of the shortage of training facilities in the area, Cape Coral struggles to reach the requirement and the impact can mean higher insurance rates for residents. Once the facility is completed in the next two years, firefighters will have a much easier time completing the training.

“I am really excited about this facility because there are not a whole lot of them around so having the opportunity to construct one is very rare,” said Scott Loiacano, project manager for Wright Construction Group. “It is unique. People will be coming from all over to experience and train at this facility.”

Added Fred Edman, president of Wright Construction Group: “We have a long history with the Cape Coral Fire Department and the City of Cape Coral, building fire stations, so to now be able to build a training facility which allows the firefighters to train year-round is special for us.”

About Wright Construction Group

For over seven decades, Wright Construction Group has been a builder of choice for many businesses, governmental agencies, schools and other commercial enterprises. Specializing in both building and civil construction, Wright Construction offers construction management, design-build and general contracting services to a wide variety of public and private clients. The main office is at 5811 Youngquist Road in Fort Myers. For more information, contact Wright Construction Group at 239-481-5000.