Firefighters train in vacant hotel

Capt. Gary Samuels (left) and Chief Dale Harris (right)
Henrico firefighters have had a unique opportunity to train in a vacant hotel in the Near West End in recent days. Firefighters are conducting a variety of exercises at the former Ramada Plaza Richmond West (on West Broad Street near Glenside Drive) which went out of business last year and was purchased by adjacent Genworth for $3.8 million.

Genworth allowed the Henrico Division of Fire to use the empty building for several weeks of fire training, and Henrico in turn invited agencies from Hanover, Chesterfield, Richmond, New Kent, Colonial Heights and Fort Lee to join them.

Genworth's purchase has impacted a number of local residents, because it decided to donate all the furniture and other items inside the hotel to CARITAS, a faith-based organization that assists those who are homeless, hungry and unemployed. The inventory, valued at about $1.5 million, filled more than 40 tractor trailers and was the largest donation ever received by CARITAS. The organization expects to serve more than 450 households and 1,000 at-risk individuals as the result of the donation.

Genworth also donated the hotel's baby grand piano to nearby Johnson Elementary School.

Lt. Jeff Mitchell

Lt. "Pork Chop" Greene

Genworth Real Estate Manager Sarah Bagby (left) and Capt. Jim Mellon

A Henrico firefighter prepares to enter a zero-visibility smoke-filled hallway.

Members of the Chesterfield Fire Department participate in what they termed a "once-in-a-lifetime" training opportunity.

Members of the Henrico Division of Fire practice "forced entry" techniques.

A Henrico firefighter prepares to enter a zero-visibility smoke-filled hallway.

Capt. Gary Samuels


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Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
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State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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May 2017
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The 13th annual Gallmeyer Farms Strawberry Fields Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Berry Patch, 3622 Darbytown Ct. in Varina. The festival features fresh local strawberries (pick your own or pre-picked), live music, food and craft vendors, free hay rides, pony rides ($5) and more. Coolers, chairs and picnics welcome. Admission and parking are free. No pets. For details, visit http://www.gallmeyerfarms.com. Full text

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