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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Community

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Local choral group seeks volunteers

Good Vibrations choral group is looking for all voices with some musical experience to sing with the volunteer choir. The season runs from August to November. Genre includes patriotic and inspirational. > Read more.
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Weekend Top 10


It’s a great weekend to get outside! The Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society is offering two events this weekend. Accompany the group to find and document native plants present and blooming in Echo Lake Park on Saturday or take a “Sunday Stroll” at Dorey Park to observe the seasonal changes taking place. Other outdoor events this weekend include the final summer concert at West Broad Village and “Fridays on the Patio” at James River Cellars Winery in Glen Allen. If you’re going to be outside, don’t forget the insect repellent! To learn more about avoiding those pesky mosquitos, check out Henrico County’s “Fight-the-Bite TODAY” event tomorrow. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Tin Pan, 8982 Quioccasin Rd., will host Bill Kirchen and Austin de Lone’s “Transatlanticana” CD release party at 8 p.m. Kirchen, the “Founding Father of Americana,” and de Lone,… Full text

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