New CVTC Fire Safety Center is one of only four like it in the c - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New CVTC Fire Safety Center is one of only four like it in the country


Eau Claire (WQOW) - A new facility in Eau Claire stands out because it's built to burn.  The L.E. Phillips Fire Safety Center at CVTC is one of only four like it in the country. 

"The building was designed to have fire in it," Kim Nessel, the facility manager says.

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the L.E. Phillips Fire Safety Center on the CVTC campus, a new training center for fire and EMS students.

"In basic fire training, fire fighters get a very minimal amount of flammable liquids training and this is going to be able to fill a void that exists in that," Nessel says.

The unique building's main feature is a 50 by 50 foot burn room, complete with 30 foot ceilings.

"The concrete is one foot thick all the way around it," Nessel says.

It also has a temperature safe, shatter-proof observation window for students.  

"It kind of gets them to participate into what's happening, the feel part of the learning experience. They get a feel for the kind of intense temperatures you're dealing with inside of there. On the ceiling, they're 2,000 degrees and about every foot they come down about 200 degrees. It's not uncommon to get minor steam burns just because your sweat turns to steam. It's that warm in the environment around you," Nessel says.

The room also features a double exhaust system and custom vents along the walls to allow air in and out.

"We can control it to make the fire more violent or to tame it down, if you will," Nessel says.

Students aren't the only ones who will benefit from the controlled burn, companies will also be able to rent the building to see how their products hold up to the heat.

"It's an opportunity to test materials or products to see how they might behave or perform in a high heat environment. So doors, walls, windows, appliances, that type of thing," Tom Huffcutt, CVTC's Vice President of Operations says.

If you'd like to check out the new two million dollar fire safety center, an open house will be held Thursday May first.  You'll be able to try on fire gear, handle a charged fire hose and put out an actual fire with a fire extinguisher.

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