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Woodbridge Center Would Train Firefighters in Building Collapse

By Potomac Local News January 8, 2014 9:07 am

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. – More firefighting training could soon take place in Woodbridge.

Officials are working on a $260,000 plan to create a collapse training center behind OWL Volunteer Fire Station 12 on Montgomery Avenue. Firefighters, both volunteer and career members from across Prince William County, would be able learn what to do when a vehicle collides into a building or a house, promoting rescue crews to be called to a “building collapse” situation. During these scenarios, temporary support beams must be put in place to prevent the remainder of the building from collapsing.

“I can send my firefighters off to a special school or somewhere outside the county to learn how to respond to collapse calls, but this facility would allow the training to happen right here in Prince William County, and it would allow our guys to have refresher courses on this type of training,” said OWL Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jim McAllister.

The money would come from the county and is proffer funds from developers that must be spend in the Woodbridge Magisterial District, McAllister added.

OWL crews fire crews are called to about 30 “collapse” calls each year, about the same number of river rescues the department is called to each year on the Potomac River and tributaries in the area.

The chief will present his plan tonight at a meeting of fire officials. If it is approved, the center could take about a year to open.