Sierra College Dedicates Nevada County Campus Fire Training Tower

October 12, 2021

Grass Valley location to train next generation of firefighters

Sierra College dedicated its new fire training tower at the Sierra College Nevada County Campus (NCC) Public Safety Training Center (PSTC) in Grass Valley today. The fire training tower will be used for live fire drills, during which students will learn to work in the dark and in confined spaces, to use breathing apparatus in thick smoke, and fight live fire. The tower will also provide training for students studying law enforcement and emergency medical services.

“The importance of local training for the next generation of first responders has never been clearer than right now, and right here at the edge of the urban-wildland interface in Nevada County,” said Willy Duncan, Sierra College’s Superintendent/President at the dedication event.

The fire training tower includes:

  • 3 stories plus open roof for training aloft
  • 5 windows, 3 doors
  • Class A burn room
  • Multiple tie offs/anchors for rappelling and fighter safety/survival training

“We can’t overstate the importance of firefighter training and helping prepare new firefighters for the challenges they will encounter on the job,” said Grass Valley Fire Chief Mark Buttron.

The ceremonial ribbon was cut by a hydraulic, battery operated (Holmatro) spreader/ cutter, better known as the “Jaws of Life,” operated by Sierra College students who are training to become firefighters.

The dedication included demonstrations of:

  • Throwing ladders to exterior windows for climbing and firefighter bail out/rescue training
  • Rappelling demonstration down exterior of tower
  • Live fire extinguishment demonstration

“The Nevada County Campus began its Fire Academy in 2018 and was a critical addition to NCC’s instructional program offerings and employment in this region. We encourage interested prospective students to consider a career in firefighting or related public safety programs that the college offers,” said Stephanie Ortiz, Executive Dean, Sierra College Nevada County Campus.

Sierra College engaged with six community partners to continue the build-out of the PSTC in late 2016. Participating partners included the Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council, Fire Advisory Board, Grass Valley and Nevada City Fire Departments, Nevada County Consolidated Fire and Nevada County Fire Chiefs.

The PSTC operates on nearly 3-acres of paved concrete pad located on the south hillside below the main campus. The pad is adjacent to the Grass Valley Fire Station No. 2 and contains a 2-bay fire training academy building completed in early 2018. The fire training academy also shares classroom space with the fire station. The PSTC supports a variety of burn training props and hosts several vehicle driver training and certification courses.

For current Sierra College health and safety regulations please see

Information on studying Fire Technology at Sierra College is available at

About Sierra College

Sierra College is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3,200 square miles of Northern California with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four-year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at