MFR Fire-Rescue opens new training facility, dedicates to late board member

 MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Fire-Rescue celebrated the opening of its brand new fire training facility Wednesday morning. It has rearrangeable walls in order to practice in a wide range of floor plans.

“Having the ability to train in something like this is gonna be very important for us,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fish, “being able to direct those things so they don’t get muscle memory in their head of normalcy, so they’ll be able to react to the changes that they’d face which is huge in a real incident because they’re always dynamic.”

The building can be used for confined space operations, forcible entry, suppression tactics and rope rescues. “We’ll be able to make kitchens, be able to make bedrooms, just more areas for us to search,” said Medford Fire-Rescue firefighter Kris Miller, “more areas for us to put simulated victims that we need to find.”

Chief Fish said the most important part of the new facility, however, is who it’s dedicated to, Duane Venekamp.

Venekamp served on the Medford Rural Fire Protection District 2 Board for 42 years until his passing in 2015.

“To dedicate to Duane is a personal honor for me to be able to do that,” said Fish, “but being able to know that many years in the future of firefighters coming into the department are going to be able to use this building to hone their skills to better serve the community is a big deal to me.”

The new addition will be used to train Medford’s nearly 90 personnel and partner agencies throughout the year.

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