Fireys to train in Craigieburn

METROPOLITAN Fire Brigade firefighters will soon be battling ‘faux’ blazes in Craigieburn.

The state government announced last week that Craigieburn will be home to the MFB’s biggest training headquarters, to be used by 1800 firefighters.

The $109 million training centre, at an 18.6-hectare site at the old Apollo Gardens caravan park on the Hume Highway, will provide firefighters with a “realistic and practical training base”.

MFB spokesman John Rees says it will create 140 jobs during construction.

Craigieburn was chosen because of the large space it offered and ease of access.

“It was a question of access and the actual terrain.” Mr Rees said.

“It’s large and flat. There’s good access to Hume and it’s not far from anywhere in Melbourne.

“We’ve obviously had to take care of any environmental issues so that it was manageable. Craigieburn ticked all right boxes.”

At the training ground, firefighters will have a range of practical settings to train with, including a streetscape, high-rise buildings, a shopping centre, service station and residential precinct.

Deputy Premier and Police and Emergency Services Minister Peter Ryan said the venue would not only meet the MFB’s training requirements but have the capacity to be available to other emergency service organisations, like the CFA.

Construction work will begin in the next two months and the centre is expected to be operational in 2014.