Virginia News

Monday, June 1, 2020

Police chief details emotional fire rescue amid Richmond riot

Rioters blocked a fire truck from responding to a burning home early Sunday morning in Richmond, according to Richmond Police Chief Will Smith. “Protesters intentionally set a fire to an occupied building on Broad Street. This is not the only occupied building that has been set fire to over the last two days. But they prohibited us from getting on scene,” Smith said. “We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department. Protestors intercepted that fire apparatus several blocks away with vehicles and blocked that fire department’s access to the structure fire. Inside that home was a child.” Smith’s voice filled with emotion as he recounted the event during a Sunday morning press conference. “Officers were able to help those people out of the house. We were able to get the fire department there safely,” he said before pausing to regain his composure.
WTVR-TV CBS 6 Richmond

Related: Numerous businesses set on fire, damaged & looted in Richmond

Multiple businesses in Richmond were set on fire, damaged and looted during overnight protests that turned violent. The damage was still being assessed Sunday morning, but businesses that experienced broken windows and looting include the CVS on Broad and Arthur Ashe and the ABC store on Broad, where people were spotted stealing bottles of alcohol. A massive fire and police response were called to the Rite Aid on the corner of Belvedere and Broad around 3:30 a.m. It took crews nearly two hours to get under control, and officials say there are large amounts of damage inside the building. Protesters have been calling for justice in the officer shooting death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.
WWBT-TV NBC 12 Richmond

Unidentified male tried to torch Fredericksburg police department, police say

Fredericksburg authorities are investigating an incident early Sunday in which someone described only as an unknown male set two small fires near the front entrance of the city police department. City police spokeswoman Sarah Kirkpatrick said the incident took place about 12:35 a.m. at police headquarters at 2200 Cowan Blvd. The male poured a flammable liquid in the area of the front entrance and started two small fires before running off toward the nearby Commons at Cowan Boulevard apartment complex, police said. City firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fires, Kirkpatrick said. No one was injured, but there was damage to the sidewalk and the police department's Fallen Officer memorial.

Officials: One dead, two uninjured following rescue operations in Balcony Falls area along James River

First responders from multiple agencies throughout three counties rescued three people stranded by separate incidents along the James River on Sunday afternoon. According to Big Island Emergency Crew, rescue units were dispatched to the area of Balcony Falls along the James River at 3:39 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, after which swiftwater resources were recommended from various agencies in Amherst County, Bedford County, and Rockbridge County. Amherst Fire Department says the initial dispatch reported a possible drowning with CPR in process. According to Bedford County Special Operations Command, first responders removed three people from the river, one of whom was in critical condition and transported to Lynchburg General Hospital. Unfortunately, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) told WFXR News Sunday evening the hospitalized victim was later pronounced dead.
WFXR-TV Fox 27 Roanoke

James City County may delay new fire station

James City County is considering putting plans for a new fire station on hold as it cuts its capital improvement program in response to a loss of funding caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Fire Station 6 is one of a raft of projects that County Administrator Scott Stevens is proposing to delay in the 2020 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and beyond. The project would cost $9.64 million, including the costs of design, planning, and permitting for the new station on county-owned land adjacent to the Law Enforcement Center on Opportunity Way. Stevens presented a report that recommended splitting the 2020 capital improvements program into red, yellow, and green projects at the May 26 Board of Supervisors work session. He said the red list that includes Fire Station 6 are “projects we can delay until we feel better, whether that’s six months, nine months, some period of time.”
Virginia Gazette

Friday, May 29, 2020

New Roanoke Fire Station 7 could open by end of the year

Construction on a new Roanoke fire station has reached the halfway point. Roanoke Fire-EMS Chief David Hoback said the new Fire Station 7 in Grandin Village is still on track to be ready at the end of the year. The new Station 7 stands where the old firehouse had been for 94 years. Much of the framework is done, and crews have already installed a brick facade on one side of the building. Hoback hopes the station will blend the charm of the old structure with the needs of a modern fire department. "This is the fourth new fire station I've been privileged to be a part of in Roanoke,” Hoback said. “To see a new structure come out of the ground that will serve our community for the next 100 years is amazing." Hoback said the station will likely open around December.
WSLS-TV NBC 10 Roanoke

’It was worth it’: Lynchburg first responders invest in tool to help in water rescues, building collapses

VIDEO: The Lynchburg Fire Department is ready to answer the call no matter how difficult. The department has some new technology that will take their eyes and ears to new places. It’s a handheld 360-degree camera with flashlights ready to be used in any situation. “It’s just something that we knew that we needed for the technical rescue team. It can be used in collapsed situations. It can be used in swift water operations,” said battalion chief Kenny Turner. On Wednesday Turner and other members of the tactical team were called out to help Amherst County fire agencies pull out a truck submerged in the James River after a man drove his car into the water. The man made it out safely, but first responders had to make sure there was no one else in the truck. Videos shows firefighters sticking the waterproof camera into the car looking for a person.
WSLS-TV NBC Channel 10

Charlottesville Fire Department: Fire alarm provided early warning in church fire

Investigators are looking into what caused a fire at a Charlottesville church Wednesday evening. Crews responded to University Baptist Church around 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 27. Firefighters found a small fire in the sanctuary and extinguished it quickly. There is some smoke damage and a few pews were burned. No injuries were reported, and minimal damage occurred at the church. The Charlottesville Fire Department says the fire alarm installed and maintained by University Baptist Church provided an early notification that helped to prevent greater loss. “Commercial fire alarms are really good when people are in the church and the fire alarms go off and it notifies everybody to get out, but when it’s not occupied it lets the fire department know that there’s an emergency and get here quickly and stopping a small fire from becoming a big fire,” CFD Deputy Chief Joe Powers said.
WVIR-TV NBC 29 Charlottesville

3 residents displaced after Henrico home damaged in fire

Three Henrico residents are being assisted by the American Red Cross after a fire engulfed their home Thursday. Fire officials told 8News the home was declared a total loss. Crews were called to the 3400 block of Glenwood Ridge Road on Thursday for reports of a kitchen fire. When they arrived, firefighters found “heavy fire venting from several windows and doors on the front and rear of dwelling.” According to Henrico fire, the blaze caused extensive damage to all three floors of the home and exterior after extending into the attic and across the entire length of the house. 8News learned that an unattended stove, the leading cause of house fires in the county, sparked the fire. “We certainly have seen, interestingly with the COVID going on, a spike in kitchen fires because we have so many people who are home,” said Henrico County Fire Battalion Chief Doug Reynolds.
WRIC-TV ABC 8 Richmond

Hungry bear spotted near Chesterfield firefighter’s home

VIDEO: Perhaps he or she was just bear-y hungry! An unexpected visitor was caught on video making their way onto the driveway of a Chesterfield County firefighter’s home in search of food. The ring video, recorded in the area of Skinquarter Road, captures a bear knocking over a grill. Chesterfield Fire & EMS released the video to remind residents to avoid leaving trash, food, or in this case an open grill, out in the open.
WRIC-TV ABC 8 Richmond

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