Shelton aldermen join call for fire training school

The Shelton Board of Aldermen joined the chorus of municipalities calling for funding for the Valley Fire Chiefs Fire Training School.

The aldermen, at its meeting Thursday, Oct. 10, voted unanimously on a resolution demanding that the funding request for the training school, to be in Beacon Falls, be added to the state Bond Commission’s coming meeting agenda and approved in a timely fashion.

Shelton state Reps. Jason Perillo and Ben McGorty and state Sen. Kevin Kelly, only a day prior to the aldermen’s action, praised those municipalities that have approved similar resolutions demanding that the funding request go before the state Bond Commission.

“We are always proud to say that we come from the Valley, especially when we see the groundswell of town support for our volunteer firefighters,” said Perillo, McGorty and Kelly in a joint statement with fellow Valley legislative delegation members state Reps. Themis Klarides, Nicole Klarides-Ditria, David Labriola and Rose Rebimbas and state Sens. George Logan and Eric Berthel.

“Valley towns want their voices heard loud and clear, they want this long overdue funding,” the legislators further stated. “Volunteer firefighters need access to training. They put their lives on the line to protect us. They deserve the funding.”

“I graduated from the Valley Fire School as Firefighter 1 over 25 years ago,” said McGorty in a recent Facebook post. “The fire school closed shortly afterwards. Not having a fire school in the Valley is unacceptable. Governor, enough is enough; sign the check and build the school as you said you would.”

Members of the Shelton Fire Department, along with all nine member towns, including Oxford, Seymour, Derby, Beacon Falls, Orange, Woodbridge, Ansonia and Bethany, gathered at the site of the future Valley Fire Chiefs Regional Training School on Thursday, Oct. 10, to advocate support for the construction of the school.

“Governor Lamont has failed to put the $14 million in bonding money onto the agenda of the state bonding commission, a promise he made during his campaign for governor,” stated the post. “Valley towns have been without a fire school since 1999-2000 when the Derby Fire School on Sullivan’s Island was closed.”

The former Valley fire school closed in 2000 after the property in Derby was declared a brownfield. In 2010, the state bought four lots, some 11 acres overall, for $862,500 on Lancaster Drive in the Pinesbridge Commerce Park. In all, the state has spent more than $2 million on the land purchase, geologic and soil testing, and architectural renderings.

While the state has done some work on the project, the legislators stated that the state Bond Commission must approve funds that the legislature has authorized for the fire school. The legislators say Lamont must place this on the agenda, which he had promised to do during his campaign. To this point, the fire school funding has not made the agenda.

“The Shelton Board of Aldermen supports the construction and permanent establishment of the Valley Fire Chiefs Regional Training School,” states the resolution, “in order to ensure the proper emergency response training for our volunteer firefighters to protect the public safety for not only the people of the city of Shelton but also for the entire southwestern Connecticut region.”

The aldermen’s resolution states that creating the permanent location in Beacon Falls is necessary to maintain, train and attract new firefighters while keeping an essential volunteer service in place for Shelton and other neighboring municipalities.