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St. Catharines Training Fire Tower
Slightly downstream from the St. Paul Crescent bridge is an odd, pink, concrete, four-story building on the west bank. This is the St. Catharines Fire Department's Training Fire Tower, which is used for a wide range of fire drill exercises for trainees and members of the fire department. Assistant Fire Chief Daryl Whiteley said, "It gets used a lot during recruitment when new recruits spend most of their time there in conjunction with the Training Division and the full time firefighter shifts." He went on to say that some of the neighboring municipalities which do not have their own training grounds use it occassionally.
Each floor is configured differently to simulate a variety of furniture set-ups to replicate a house or apartment building. This allows for interior firefighting and to learn rescue techniques to help people trapped by fire or smoke. (They use manikins!) As well they can practice aerial operations by rescuing their own personnel from the balcony or roof. The tower has also been used for rappelling purposes so that they can practice rope techniques. The St. Catharines Fire Department trains their personnel in the Technical Rope Rescue programme.
The water they use for practice is skimmed from the adjacent 12 Mile Creek. There is a drafting pad adjacent to the Twelve Mile Creek where a truck can position itself and draft water (i.e., suck water up into the truck by means of hard suction hose.)
The number of live burns have taken their toll on the building. There has been a lot of work done on it over the last several years to repair concrete that is deteriorating and spalling.
Constructed on Renown Road in the mid-1970s, the tower is located on property which used to be Shickluna's Ship Yard, which operated from 1838 through 1894. It was a major industry in St. Catharines and contributed to the city's growth. They launched between 140 and 200 vessels from its slipways, more than any other Great Lakes shipyard. Louis Shickluna, the founder, was a St. Catharines City Councillor. Part of an old ship is supposedly burried under the spot where the Training Fire Tower now stands, and researchers would like to do an archaeological dig on the site some day.
TripClip Audio File
Click to play or download St. Catharines Training Fire Tower TripClip (mp3 format)
This destination is also part of the TripClip tour 'Touring the Twelve.'
Exit Westchester Avenue and head South West (Left if coming from the South and Right if coming from the North or QEW)
Follow Westchester Avenue (which becomes Westchester Cresent at the lights), and go to the St. Paul Street and St. Paul Street West intersection
Left on St. Paul Street West
Cross Burgoyne Bridge
Left on Bellevue Terrace
Left on St. Paul Crescent to Twelve Mile Creek
Left on Renown Road
There is a fence that blocks traffic to the tower
From Brock University take 16 or 116 towards downtown St. Catharines.
Get off at corner of Westchester Cresent and St. Paul Street
Left on St. Paul Street West
Walk over Burgoyne Bridge
Left on Hainer Street towards the 12 Mile Creek
Left on Reown Road
The training tower is just under the Burgoyne Bridge.