Hanover County Fire-EMS cut the ribbon on its new state-of-the-art Class B burn building. The $3.9 million tactical training tower offers a safer environment for firefighters to train for residential, commercial and technical rescues.
“We are extremely excited about our new burn building,” said Hanover Fire-EMS Chief Jethro Piland. “It is a state-of-the-art facility that provides our firefighters real world training scenarios while providing top tier safety procedures.”
The five-level facility uses liquid propane gas and theatrical smoke instead of wood to simulate a fire. Using gas limits firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens. Firefighters have a 9% higher risk of developing cancer, so limiting their exposure to contaminants that cause the disease can be lifesaving.
It incorporates steel training props to simulate both civilian and firefighter rescues. The training tower allows firefighters to focus on how flames react in a simulated kitchen, bedroom, office and garage. It also features a complex monitoring system for toxic gas and heat throughout the structure.
The new tactical training tower will be used by fire departments throughout Central Virginia, enabling firefighters to create a safer community not just in Hanover, but across the region.
“I stand in front of this beautiful new facility to say congratulations on being a leader in today’s modern-day firefighting and thank you for stepping up and allowing other people to also use your facility,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Terrance Cole.
Hanover Fire-EMS dedicated the building at it's grand opening on October 12 to fallen firefighter Lieutenant Bradford T. Clark who was killed five years ago while working a crash on I-295. A bronze replica of Lt. Clark’s fire helmet stands sits perched on a brick column in front of the structure.
“It is only fitting that a man who gave so much to his community, friends and family be remembered today with this handmade custom-designed bronze helmet that originally began as a mound of clay, to be built up and refined by fire,” said his widow Melanie Clark.
Adjacent to the training tower stands a pavilion that pays tribute to another Hanover firefighter lost too soon. Assistant Chief Henri G. Moore Jr. died from occupational cancer in 2017. His mother said her son would have appreciated the pavilion named in his honor.
“Anyone who knew him knows he did love to cook barbecue and enjoy fellowship. This beautiful pavilion will be a lasting tribute to these two passions of his,” Betty Moore shared.
Watch the full ceremony here.