The Abilene ISD Fire Academy, a partnership between the school district and the City of Abilene, held the grand opening of its new training facility on Oct. 24 at the former Fire Station No. 3.

Fire TruckAISD Superintendent Dr. David Young, Abilene Fire Department Chief Cande Flores and Mayor Anthony Williams addressed a crowd of parents, community members and AISD partners in the ceremony inside the former fire station at 2201 South 19th St.

Fire Academy instructor Mike Miller, who served as an AFD firefighter for more than 21 years, and 18 current students participated in the official opening, which featured a separating of the fire hose instead of the traditional ribbon cutting. Also on display was the academy’s training vehicle, a fire truck that had been freshly adorned with the new AISD Fire Academy logo.

Fire Academy ToolsThe joint venture provides a low-cost Fire Academy program to the students of Abilene ISD beginning their junior year of high school. This two-year program includes firefighter instruction provided by an AISD teacher who is also a former AFD fireman. Currently, the 18 students who are enrolled in the program attend Fire Academy classes for a two-period block each day and will participate in additional hands-on training experiences on selected Saturdays and evenings.

Cisco College and Texas State Technical College also play important roles in providing instruction to Fire Academy students. The first three semesters are taught at the Fire Academy Station with Cisco College serving as the college course administrator. During the second semester of their senior year, students will receive their EMT Basic Certification training through TSTC.

Students who complete the program and earn the firefighter and EMT certifications will be eligible to apply for jobs in both fire and emergency medical services.