PARMA, OH (WOIO) - City officials and members of the fire departments in Parma, Parma Heights, North Royalton and Seven Hills are in the process of finalizing plans to begin construction on the new Parma Regional Fire Safety House.
The original fire safety house was constructed in memory of two 8-year-old boys, Timmy and Jason, who lost their lives in a fire in August 1992. Former Mayor Mike Reis and participating communities were determined to give children a hands-on learning experience to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.
Constructed in 1996, over 30,000 children experienced the original fire safety house during its 16-year-run. It was closed in 2012 to make room for the new Cuyahoga County Public Library on Powers Boulevard.
Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter and Fire Chief John French agree that this valuable program must be restored.
"Parents have made a point to tell us how much their child not only enjoyed their trip to the original fire safety house, but how much they learned from the trip," French said. "They come home and want to do fire drills and continue to bring it up throughout the year."
In an effort to make this project a reality, donations from the public and the business community are being sought out. Donations are tax deductible as the Parma Regional Fire Safety House has non-profit status.
The new house is expected to have hands-on features similar to the original house as well as several new enhancements. One notable change is an actual basement escape window that can be installed in any basement as a second escape route.
The goal of this program continues to be "Saving Lives Through Education" and will eventually expand to educate people of all ages. Expansion of the program will include a fire extinguisher training prop and a stovetop grease fire-training lesson.
The Parma Schools Trades Program will be a part of the project, helping with the actual construction. It is important for these students to be involved as most of them experienced the original fire safety house and their siblings and children will possibly experience the new house they helped build.