Fairfax, Va. — More than 40 members from local volunteer fire departments dropped their Labor Day plans to help backfill Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department stations following a six-alarm blaze in Alexandria.
At 11:49 a.m. on Sept. 2, Fairfax County sent dozens of firefighters to a warehouse fire in the 800 block of S. Pickett Street, in Alexandria, to provide mutual aid to the Alexandria Fire Department. Fire units from Arlington and Prince Georges counties as well as from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority also assisted. About 200 firefighters battled the inferno for four hours before bringing it under control, and many remained hours after to ensure the fire was fully extinguished.
“Meanwhile, Fairfax County had to deal with a decreased coverage within the county as fire units assigned to the Alexandria fire were committed to that incident,” explained Jonathan Wood, president of the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.
“As part of our partnership with the County, when we realized many firefighters would be dedicated to the six-alarm call, we began to implement our plan to backfill units with volunteer staff to boost the response capability within the county,” Wood said.
The initial call for help came at 1 p.m. Within an hour, volunteers had dropped what they were doing on Labor Day and were already preparing four fire engines, six basic life support ambulances and two canteen units to go into service to cover fire stations that had sent units to support the fire in Alexandria. Among the units the volunteers staffed were:
McLean Volunteer Fire Department (Station 1)
Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (Station 2)
Engine 402B (relocated to Station 10), Ambulance 402E and Canteen 402
Franconia Volunteer Fire Department (Station 5)
Engine 405B (relocated to Station 8) and Ambulance 405E
Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (Station 13)
Engine 413B (relocated to Station 30)
Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (Station 14)
Engine 414B (relocated to Station 11) and Ambulance 414E
Centreville Volunteer Fire Department (Station 17)
Fair Oaks Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (Station 21)
Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department (Station 22)
To ensure quick and full crew complement for these units, operational members from other Fairfax County volunteer departments stepped up to staff fire and rescue equipment from other stations, resulting in some members driving across the county to staff units at a sister fire station.
“Most of these volunteers woke up on Labor Day with specific plans to spend the Federal holiday with family or friends, but when we asked for help, they quickly gave up those plans with no hesitation to support the County’s fire and rescue capability,” Wood said. “As a result, we provided additional staffing to the County to support our brothers and sisters at the Alexandria fire scene, or to cover their home stations to boost our response capability.”
“I’m proud and grateful for their dedication to service,” Wood added.
The Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association is a partnership of 12 volunteer fire and rescue departments in Fairfax County, Va. Learn more about the Association at www.fcvfra.org. (9/3/2013)