SAUGATUCK, Mich. — Firefighters in southwest Michigan will now have a place to train on live fires. 

Seven different community fire departments came together Wednesday, Aug. 28 to unveil the new Life Fire Training Facility, located at 3342 Blue Star Hwy in Saugatuck. 

The project is a collaborative effort between the Clyde, Fennville, Ganges, Graafschap, Hamilton, Holland, and Saugatuck fire departments.

The new facility will enable area fire departments to acclimate firefighters to the conditions experienced when fighting a live fire. The partners of this project believe that this will reduce the number of deaths to firefighters and civilians; reduce property damage; improve recruitment and retention; increase efficiency and morale; and save taxpayers money through a reduction in lost time injuries, and compensation claims.

"I am extremely pleased to see this resource become available for our area fire departments. Utilizing this facility to train firefighters under severe heat and obscured visibility conditions will instill a cultural change across the state and enhance our efforts in community risk reduction," said Saugatuck Township Fire District Chief Greg Janik, President of Allegan County Fire Chief's Association.

This collaborative project is the first of its kind in southwest Michigan.

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