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New firefighting training facility opens at Alachua County high school

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Loften High School and Alachua County Fire Rescue unveiled Wednesday morning a new fire rescue training center for students and firefighters.

The new center, located at Loften High, will provide cooperative training between firefighters and students enrolled in the school’s Fire and EMS Academy.

Alachua County Fire Training Rescue Capt. Kevin Wesley said not only will the center give his crews a place to hold live training sessions, it will increase interaction between students and firefighters.

“It allows our professional crews to come out and do crucial training in a facility that can do live fire training, search and rescue, (and a) multitude of different fire rescue functions in cooperation with the students,” he said,  “giving them a chance to work alongside professional firefighters who can mentor them into this career.”

The training center provides a head start for students who want to work into the firefighting field.

Kenneth Cormier, a senior in the school’s fire academy, said he felt ready to go into the firefighting world and put what he learned in school to practice.

“From the skills I’ve learned now, I’m already ahead of the game than somebody that’s going into fire school straight out of high school,” he said. “They don’t know the skills, they don’t know the techniques when we’ve learned it all through our high school year.”

Cynthia Resmondo, another senior in the academy, said she believed firefighters help inspire students in the program.

“They’ve encouraged us that if you try hard enough, then you will overcome any challenges and obstacles that are in your way,” she said.

Chris Alcantara wrote this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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