Students use knowledge to nail down fire training facility

In just under one week, a group of Anzar High School students
turned a pile of lumber and nails into the first-ever local
training facility San Juan Bautista volunteer firefighters can call
their own.
San Juan Bautista – In just under one week, a group of Anzar High School students turned a pile of lumber and nails into the first-ever local training facility San Juan Bautista volunteer firefighters can call their own.

Students in Dan Faurot-Daniels’ Drafting and Construction class finished the training building, located between San Jose and Second streets at the City Yard, last Friday after starting with a bare concrete slab and finishing with an 8 by 16-foot building that firefighters can use to practice pertinent life and property-saving techniques, according to Fire Chief Rick Cokley.

“In the past we have had to travel to other departments, borrow their props, or build something on a temporary basis to do this training,” said Cokley. “Now we will have a place that can be used on a regular basis. This will go a long way to enhance the level of training of our firefighters and help ensure their safety.”

Faurot-Daniels’ class of 20 students – three girls and 17 freshman and sophomore boys constructed the building as a class project that instills real-life skills and provides for the community at the same time, Faurot-Daniels said.

“They can stand back and say, ‘We built that,'” Faurot-Daniels said. “They learn how to use power tools, how a building goes together – even though it’s just four walls and a roof it covers the basics as far as construction.”

This is the third year Faurot-Daniels’ class has constructed a structure, and he said he’s always looking for future projects in and around San Juan.

Volunteer firefighters will build a false roof on top of the roof students constructed so trainees can practice vertically ventilating a building, Cokley said. Vertical ventilation is when firefighters open a hole in the roof of a burning building to let hot gases and smoke escape so crews can work inside the building, according to a statement issued by the fire department.

The building will also have several props inside to simulate situations where firefighters have become trapped or tangled and died, according to the statement.

Faurot-Daniels’ class received supplies to construct the building from San Benito County Supervisor Anthony Botelho, Allen’s Barricades and Safety Supply in Hollister and Soares Fence and Lumber Co. in Gilroy, among others.

If not for the donated supplies and free student labor, Faurot-Daniels’ estimated the building would have cost between $2,000 and $3,000 to construct.

The facility, named the “Forrest Soares Training Prop,” was named after Forrest Soares, a San Juan Bautista boy with cerebral palsy whose life revolves around firefighters and fire engines, according to Cokley.

Besides naming their training facility after Soares, who’s father, Frank, owns Soares Fence and Lumber Co., the volunteers also unofficially adopted the boy as one of their own, according to Cokley.

Erin Musgrave covers public safety for the Free Lance. Reach her at 637-5566, ext. 336 or [email protected]

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