City takes action on regional fire-training facility

Fran Brownell
Pratt City Fire Department Captain Todd Hoffman surveys stacked containers that the city will be purchasing for firefighter training.

Pratt City Fire Department Chief David Kramer’s vision for a regional fire-training facility in Pratt moved from the drawing board to an action plan at the regular Pratt City Commission meeting, Monday, January 20, when Pratt City Commissioners unanimously approved $13,360 for the purchase of four storage containers, which includes delivery to Pratt from Kansas City.
“This is one of our priorities,” Kramer said. “We really don’t have any other big target items in this year’s budget.”
Each of the containers is 40 feet long by eight feet wide by nine feet tall and, when situated with three containers running lengthwise with the fourth forming a T-shape at one end, will provide approximately 1,200 square feet of training space, according to Kramer.
Kramer said the proposed facility here is modeled after an established training center in Wichita and provides an ideal floor plan for training for both small commercial structures and house fires.
The site selected for the training center is a pie-shaped acre parcel of city-owned property at the junction of SR61 and NE 10th Street, just north of Pratt Community College.
The units will be positioned on a concrete pier for stability, according to Kramer, who added that the proposed facility would not interfere with other city departments’ use of the property, such as the street department using the site to wash equipment.
Commissioner Don Peters questioned about what might need to be done regarding the containers, once they were delivered to the site.
“We’ll actually have to put them together,” Kramer said.
Kramer described the formation of the Wichita training site where the containers are set up like a two-story house to simulate realistic firefighting scenarios and said the goal is to add two more containers to the Pratt site, as budget allows, to make the structure here two-stories as well.
Commissioner Zach Deeds questioned the location to be assured that it met future city planning objectives.
“I don’t have any place I think it would be better,” City Manager Bruce Pinkall said, with City Building Inspector Brad Blankenship concurring.
“This is a good place,” Blankenship said.
Kramer said that, because of smoke and noise that would be involved in training sessions, he previously spoke with adjoining property owners about locating the training facility at that site.
“There was absolutely no problem,” Kramer said.
Commissioner Jason Leslie favored the plan for developing a regional training center.
“It’d be a great opportunity for surrounding communities to take advantage of,” Leslie said.
On motion of Commissioner Doug Meyer, Mayor Gary Schmidt and Commissioners Deeds, Peters and Jason Leslie unanimously gave the green-light go-ahead to Kramer to proceed with plans for purchase of four storage containers, as discussed.
“This really is a big thing for the department,” Kramer said. “We appreciate your support more than you can know.”
Commissioners were also updated by Pratt City Fire Department Captain Todd Hoffman about the 10th Annual Pratt City Fire Department Swap Meet Cruise and Show scheduled for May 1-2.
Hoffman said the event will feature Friday Cruise Night, Saturday Show and Shine, with Swap Meet scheduled for both days.
The Saturday Show registration will be from 8 to 10 a.m. May 2, with awards presented at 3:30 p.m. with no early departures requested.
Most events will be at Sixth Street Park.
Pre-Registration for the Car Show is $15.00, with on-site registrations set at $20.00.
Swap Meet registration, open for anything automotive related, is $25 per space for both days.
Information about the event is posted on the City of Pratt Fire Department Facebook site. Hoffman may also be contacted by email for further information at
In other business, city commissioners approved an ordinance allowing reimbursement of the cost of collection of city accounts.
“It can really add up to a lot of money, so we’d like to get that back if we can,” City Clerk LuAnn Kramer said.
Commissioners also approved the re-appointment of Pratt Director of Electric Utilities Jamie Huber and the appointment of Pinkall to the Kansas Municipal Electric Association Board of Directors.
“It helps us keep abreast of what they’ve got going on,” Pinkall said, regarding the appointments.
There was also discussion related to parking lot issues at the recently-opened Track and Soccer Facility with no action taken.
“Something needs to be done,” Commissioner Peters said of the parking lot concerns.
Commissioners adjourned the regular meeting to convene for a 20-minute executive session, which concluded with no action taken, according to Commissioner Meyer.