Calhoun County plans to build a new burn facility for firefighter training on Doodle Road.

County Councilman Cecil Thornton spoke about moving forward with the project during a meeting last week.

“I believe majority of the people who were working through it, I think they saw that this would be the positive thing to do to move forward,” Thornton said.

“They were concerned about future growth but we’ve addressed that as well. Future growth can be out in that location,” Thornton said.

Calhoun County firefighters have asked for a burn facility so they can train together without leaving the county. They have lately been traveling elsewhere to complete their training.

The county did once have a burn facility, but it was torn down by the county due to reports of structural damage and smoke complaints.

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During the council meeting, Tris Waystack questioned why the facility was torn down while giving public comments. Waystack is running for county council District 5 as a write-in candidate.

“We spoke to the town of Saint Matthews, the town has no records of any report ever of a smoke complaint,” Waystack said.

“I contacted Randy Coleman today, and it did sustain fire damage in 2009 and he was notified immediately of the damage and brought in a civilian engineering company to repair the damage at their expense,” Waystack said.

“The fire association came out and inspected the repairs to our liking and we approved them, so all of our damages were corrected,” Waystack said.

“The Fire Academy out of Columbia has sent me a letter today saying that they were continuing to use the facility and it was a certified facility through the state fire commissions. They noted no structural damage or anything else wrong with the facility,” Waystack said.

“I’m a big advocate of speak the facts, state the facts. If the facts weren’t that it’s a smoke problem or a structural integrity problem, than own up to it. We’re in the situation now that the taxpayers will have to take on that burden to rebuild a new facility that we already had, that there was nothing wrong with,” Waystack said.

The request for the burn facility is coming months after a county fire training commission was formed.

Terry Benjamin II, a Claflin University mass communications senior, is reporting for The Times and Democrat as a Lee Enterprises-sponsored news-sports intern.

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