The Waxahachie city council approved to award the bid to Eagle Contractor for the reconstruction of the fire Department’s burn house at its Monday night meeting.

The burn house, located at the department training facility on Lions Park Road, has trained numerous firefighters since its construction in 1990.

The burn house is a training building made of concrete and cinderblocks that provides firefighters with the opportunity to train in realistic scenarios they might face during a live fire. The department’s burn house has aided not only Waxahachie firefighters and Navarro College fire academy students, but also has helped other departments around the county train and refine skills.

“If you remember, during the budget process, there was the need to replace the burn building, which has served the city for about the last 30 years. It has done good job but the concrete is about to (fail) due to excessive use over a period of years. So our plan was to replace the burn building with the exact same configuration. It is basically the same kind of design since we have gotten such good use out of it,” said Ricky Boyd, the Waxahachie Fire Department Chief. “We went into an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Navarro College to partner with us on the project because they use the facility quite a bit for their fire academy. We have got that in place.”

Department officials started noticing problems with the integrity of the concrete during the last couple of years. Since those issues with the building have arose, no live fire training has been conducted for the past 18 months. The department still has limited use of the building, and still continues rescue training with a training dummy and has utilized smoke machines for those scenarios.

Throughout the past 30 years, live fire training scenarios have created a condition inside the building called spalling, where the concrete is starting to crumble. Spalling happens when the concrete gets super hot and it pops the surface and breaks the face of the concrete up.

The city received two bids on this project. The first was from Eagle Contractor out of Lancaster with a bid of $83,750. The second was from Nay Company, located in Waxahachie, with a bid of $107,845. Boyd recommended awarding the bid to Eagle Contractor.

“Eagle Contractor is a company out of Lancaster and have been in business for 34 years. They submitted several references and they all checked out to be good. If awarded the contract, they could start in two weeks and finish in six weeks,” Boyd said. “Basically, they would be finished by the end of May. We would let the concrete cure for a month before we could use it.”

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