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Alexandria Fire Department wants a taller ‘burn building’ for training in Old Town

Fire Department recruits training on Feb. 14, 2020 (Staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria Fire Department wants to replace a 42-year-old burn building used for training in Old Town.

AFD’s proposal to demolish the three-story, 4,600-square-foot building with a new four-story, 6,400-square-foot building goes before the Planning Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and City Council on October 14.

According to the special use permit application:

The building does not have HVAC systems, interior lighting, domestic plumbing, nor a dedicated sprinkler system. Defined as a ‘prop’ by the State of Virginia Department of Fire Programs, the purpose of the structure is to replicate built conditions and spatial arrangements fire fighters encounter in real life, local, fire fighting scenarios. This structure is intended for use solely by supervised training exercises of professional fire fighters and AFD trainees and is closed to the general public…

The frequency of training and the level of disturbance (smoke, sound, visibility) on the surrounding area are not expected to increase in the new facility. The additional fourth story will not host live fire drills and the added height should not incur an increased line of sight to the surrounding area.

Most training sessions are for up to 10 trainees, however there are instances where they can include up to 100 firefighting personnel, according to a special use permit application

AFD reports there have been no complaints from residents or neighboring AlexRenew for more than 40 years.

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