Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue announced that firefighters from battalion companies will train from Friday through Sunday in acquired structures located on James Madison Highway in Haymarket. According to Communications Specialist Kim Y. Hylander, three structures were made available to the Fire Department by Virginia Department of Transportation. “Fire Department units will be using synthetic smoke to create [...]
Local police are continuing to be vigilant of those participating in the Pokémon Go phenomenon. Haymarket police have asked residents to be mindful of all laws and not to trespass while playing the game. The Prince William County Police Department made a similar statement July 12. We will keep an eye on stops as a safety measure, not an [...]
Responding to Sheetz, located at 15315 Washington Street, for a report of a suspicious person, Haymarket Police arrested a male on one count of Drunk in Public and three counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor July 5. According to the crime report, around midnight, the suspect walked to the location with the intent of being arrested because [...]
In addition to the Feb. 24 Haymarket transition line meeting, there will be two more, allowing for more comment time.
The Prince William Coalition will host a pre-hearing press conference, addressing the proposed Haymarket-Gainesville High-Voltage Power Lines, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Battlefield High School in Haymarket.
The Prince William Planning Commission will be considering whether or not to adopt the Planning Staff’s recommendation to keep the Bi-County Parkway in the Comprehensive Plan at their meeting Wednesday.
The Montclair and the Haymarket-Gainesville community libraries now offer the “PlayAway Launch Pad” that is packed with electronic books, games, puzzles and science projects for the youngest of digital natives.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the merger of the Evergreen Volunteer Fire Station in Haymarket with the career Fire and Rescue Department, prompting a directive to meet with the Fire and Rescue Department to discuss how the board can better support volunteers.
Supervisors deemed the merger necessary to ensure that county residents receive efficient and prompt service in emergencies.
According to the motion, which passed by unanimous decision, the county career force would take over the Evergreen Fire Department in Haymarket, including all administrative duties, and the ownership of all property, such as engines, trucks, ladders and equipment. Volunteers would be able to stay on and volunteer their time, but administrative functions would fall to the professional fire fighters.
The Board documents described the merger in the following statements:
“[Evergreen’s current leadership has] determined that the most viable option at this time to sustain this commitment is to merge into DFR and authorize qualifying members the opportunity to obtain the status of active volunteer operational members assigned to Evergreen, Station 15; and”
“[The merger would effectively terminate a 2009 contract with the board] thereby eliminating any and all authority previously granted to Evergreen by the BOCS to administer, participate or otherwise engage in the provision of fire and or rescue services as provided for in 27.8-1, VA Code Ann., and (2) the transfer of any and all real and personal property, assets, contracts, and accounts to the County;”
The Evergreen station has served the community as a volunteer fire department for the past 38 years; however, Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland said the merger did not come “out of the blue” but to his knowledge Evergreen has been struggling at least the past four years.
Fire Chief Kevin McGee offered few specifics, except to say there were some personnel problems at Evergreen and that the Department of Fire and Rescue had tried to intervene, but were unsuccessful. He said they were addressing a pattern of performance issues “that really, in some respect, is beyond the scope of the Fire and Rescue Association.”
This is not the first time FRA had to take over a Prince William station. The Coles District Fire Station merged with FRA in 2014.
Chairman At-large Corey Stewart (R) acknowledged that demands on fire and rescue services have increased, and it has also become more difficult to find volunteers as residents are living increasingly busy lives.
The motion addressed these heightened demands:
“WHEREAS, over the past decade, the demands of providing fire and rescue services in the National Capital Region, including PWC, have grown increasingly varied and complex, and the administrative and training needs for required programs have become more time consuming; and
Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi (D) was perturbed by the need for the merger, and
described it as a “failure of leadership,” on several fronts, saying this is not the first time a county volunteer department has failed, from what he understands, it also won’t be the last.
I’m going to try to be kind here in my words, because I think all of us have the same intentions here, but I think the dissolution of Evergreen is a failure of leadership. It is a failure of leadership on the part of this board of supervisors, on [Chief ----] and your management and administration as well as the fire chief at Evergreen and the FRA. Surely, we have to balance what is right for the citizens of our community with regard to when they call 911. I get that. Things have gone on way too long, have been ignored, or not addressed, or excuses have been thrown out. So, we have to dissolve them at this point; I get that. But, this is not the first time we’ve dissolved a fire department, and there’s probably another coming up next year that we’ll be looking at doing similar things; and I am sick and tired of hearing the excuses be- it’s not within our authority, or they didn’t cooperate with us, or we don’t have the resources to address it.
Principi called for a board directive.
I would like to see you and the FRA come back to this board with a set of recommendations that addresses the authority that you need to cooperate and colloborate between yourselves in the volunteer fire stations, So we don’t have to ever do this again.
Stewart said he would not want to pass anything that would tie anyone’s hand, saying the priority for the board is to make sure citizens’ receive prompt and efficient service. Supervisors said there is nothing much they can do about a drop in volunteerism.
However, a directive was passed. Board members were already planning to meet with the FRA in March. Added to the discussions will be ways in which they believe the FRA can work better with volunteer departments, and what the board can do, if anything to help foster those relationships.
The merger of the Evergreen Fire Station will come at a cost to the taxpayers.
Candland thanked the volunteers over the past 38 years for their service, saying they undoubtedly saved lives.
Virginia Rail Express (VRE) hopes to add three new commuter stations in western Prince William County to open in 2022.