BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) – Nine on Your Side is getting answers after Beaufort residents contacted us with concerns about a new addition to the Carteret Community College Fire Academy.
A fire training facility will soon be built off of Laurel Road, directly across from residential homes. The college picked the site for the facility because the land was donated to the college.
That’s causing worries for the people who live there.
“My biggest concern is really anything that they burn,” said one Beaufort resident, Nicolina Murrell. “How can it affect us? And how is it going to change over the years and the course of training?”
Murrell said she’s worried the facility could produce chemical toxins due to the material they’re burning, which could affect people’s health.
“The facility will burn two types of materials, Class A, which will be wheat, straw, paper, you know, untreated pallets, no toxin, no chemical related products,” said Vice President Corporate and Community Education for Carteret Community College, Perry Harker.
Officials at Carteret Community College said the training is heavily regulated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office on what they can and cannot burn.
“LP (liquefied petroleum, or propane) gas, it’s clean runoff. It is actually a good training prop to use and material to use for firefighting,” said Harker.
Another concern is the amount of smoke possibly affecting the livelihood of people outside.
“This is all supposed to be controlled, isolated inside, but you can see how far smoke can travel from county to county. So I can only imagine what it could do here in just this residential area,” said Murrell.
College officials added the class is about 16 weeks long, where they’ll use the facility to practice using ladders, ropes, forced entry and other exercises. Only around two days out of the entire course they will actually simulate a burn.
Fire departments throughout the state are able to use the facility as well. CCC officials said they will notify the neighboring residences when they use the facility.
With all fire contained within the building, Class A burns will release minimal smoke, Harker said.
“With the LP gas, we use more of a generated smoke, which is non toxic, it may look like it’s a lot of smoke, but it’s not harmful,” added Harker.
Both the community and school agree they want to keep everyone safe.
“God forbid, if something does happen, and a fire breaks out. We have multiple residents that are at stake here,” said Murrell.
“I think it’s a great idea what the community college and the fire department is trying to do. I mean, I do think it is needed, we would just like to see it in a more secluded area, not so close to residential housing.”
The college added there is a temperature control system for when the building reaches a certain temperature. The simulator will shut off automatically.
Murrell said she asked CCC about a CEMS (Continuous Emission Monitoring System) to monitor the pollution released into the air and how far it travels.
She said she has yet to receive a response.
The facility is set to be completed sometime in September 2023. There is a community meeting on August 19, at 11 a.m. at the Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church. Officials from the college will be attending to hear the concerns within the community.
A petition has also been created that is against the facility. You can click here to find out more.