Alexandria, Va. — For more than three-quarters of a century, volunteers sacrificed personal safety and time responding to some of the most significant events in the Franconia community. Those stories – and the people behind them – are the focus of a new publication unveiled Nov. 19 during Franconia History Day, which is organized by the Franconia Museum.
“We were founded by a few volunteers who saw a need in the community and we grew into a diverse group that spends hours training to the same levels as the county staff,” said Volunteer Fire Chief Tim Fleming. “Although the department has changed through the years, it is still a symbol of the great community in which to live.”
The personal recollections in the book describe a time when the department was a social and activities center for the Franconia community. Franconia VFD members participated in annual parades, organized fall carnivals, hosted Boys Scouts and held benefit dinners.
Today, about 50 active volunteers contribute to both the department’s administration and operations. They respond alongside Fairfax County career firefighters and paramedics in a primary alert area that spans the Franconia, Rose Hill and Kinsgstowne neighborhoods, and includes portions of the Washington Beltway.
Franconia volunteers logged nearly 20,000 hours in the fiscal year ending June 2012, a 25 percent increase from the previous year.
Carl Sell, who along with co-author Jim Cox spent the past year interviewing subjects for the latest Franconia Remembers volume, noted that fire equipment at two fire stations – Station 5 and Station 37 – are paid through the efforts of Franconia VFD volunteers.
“Volunteers give their time and efforts and they go through the same rigors of training,” he said. “Without them, we couldn’t afford to be here.”
Franconia VFD is a partner in the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and is part of the County’s Fire and Rescue Department. Learn more about the Franconia Volunteer Fire Department at www.franconiavfd.org.
Franconia Remembers is a local history book series that reports on the community’s past. The books, including the new volume about the Fanconia VFD, are available on the Franconia Museum’s website at www.franconiamuseum.org. (11/19/2012)