AK Steel representatives Brad Letsche, John Foster, Dan Lykins, Joe Rossi and Scott Brewer (left to right, left of door) donate and deliver a handmade fire training door to West Chester Fire Department on Dec. 12, 2019. On hand at Fire Headquarters, 9119 Cincinnati Dayton Road, to accept the door were Firefighter/Paramedic and Acting Lieutenant William Shelton (kneeling), Captain Troy Bonfield, and Assistant Chief David Pickering (left to right, right of door). CONTRIBUTED

AK Steel program creates steel door for West Chester fire department training

Employees of a AK Steel Holding Corporation have, through a public-private partnership, donated a forcible entry training door simulator to the West Chester Fire Department.

Representatives of the company’s AK CARES Program created and delivered the handmade steel door to the West Chester Fire Department’s Fire Station 71, the department’s headquarters at 9119 Cincinnati Dayton Road.

“We feel like that’s one of the best things you could give back to the community because it benefits everybody in the community with them having the training and the door to know how to use it,” said Scott Brewer, maintenance manager at AK Steel.

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One of the major advantages of having the simulator is the option for multiple uses, officials said. Forcible entry is a common challenge encountered by first responders on the scene of a structure fire. The technique often requires special tools and teamwork for efficiency.

The 800-pound door is painted fire-engine red and emblazoned with the AK Steel logo and West Chester Fire Department patch. It took three AK Steel workers three days to manufacture the door, and an employee with a laser cutting machine in his home volunteered to create the sign for the door on his own time, Brewer said.

AK Steel put the door on a trailer and delivered it on Dec. 12, he said.

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The AK CARES Program was created in 2016 to encourage corporate citizenship among employees interested in giving back to their community. Employees volunteer at food banks, schools, health and human service organizations and other agencies.

AK Steel’s corporate headquarters at 9227 Centre Pointe Drive in West Chester Twp. is located a little more than a mile west of West Chester Fire Department’s Fire Station 71.

The door is only the second of its kind. A similar door was constructed for the Middletown Fire Department in the summer of 2019. Brewer said AK Steel section manager George Phillips devised the idea for the door.

“We do drills inside the mill with the (Middletown) fire department because they’re our first responders,” Brewer said. “He actually thought of it being a good thing for them to help with their training.”

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