When he found out earlier this year that the state Fire Training Academy would not be available to the department’s five recruits, Camas-Washougal Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Villines scrambled.
Villines learned that the academy in North Bend would be closed indefinitely for remodeling. He called nearly every department in the state to make arrangements at their facilities but found each one to be either cost-prohibitive or fully occupied.
“It seemed other departments were having the same problem,” Villines said.
So, the department decided to train its recruits itself. Early into the 12-week program, which began April 1, the department has noticed a number of benefits and believes it may have found a long-term solution.
Villines coordinated with Longview Fire Battalion Chief Troy Buzalsky, who contacted Bill Benjamin, fire protection technology program specialist at Portland Community College. With a combined nine recruits between the departments, the college agreed to hold a training program at Camas-Washougal Fire Station 42.