HANOVER COUNTY, (WRIC) – Hanover Fire-EMS and the Hanover County Board of Supervisors gathered at the department’s training facility to officially open a new state-of-the-art Class B burn building – and to unveil memorials for two fallen Hanover firefighters.
Establishing lifesaving skills is crucial in a firefighter’s career and the $3.9 million dollar tactical training tower is designed to train firefighters across central Virginia for residential, commercial and technical rescues – allowing them to concentrate on how flames react in a simulated kitchen, bedroom, office and garage.
The five-level building uses propane and theatrical smoke gas instead of wood to mimic fire – which limits the amount of carcinogens the firefighters are exposed to during training.
“We are extremely excited about our new burn building,” said Hanover Fire-EMS Chief Jethro Piland.
The new training tower is dedicated to Lt. Brad Clark, a former Hanover firefighter. A bronze replica of his helmet was unveiled during the opening ceremony, standing tall on a brick column in front of the tower.
“It represents a man who lived life to the fullest, who is passionate about his job, who loved everything about firefighting, but it also represents his loss. So it’s bittersweet for sure,” said Brad’s widow, Melanie Clark. “But we’re glad to be here to memorialize him because he definitely deserves that recognition.”
Chief Piland said Clark was a leader in the organization and his passion for the field inspired many.
“His commitment to service to our community is second to none. His passion for training to be the best was phenomenal and inspired. All of us here. And his passion to instruct the future generations is well recognized,” said Chief Piland.
Beside the tower is another memorial, a pavilion which pays tribute to another firefighter – Hanover Assistant Chief Henri Moore, who died from cancer in 2017.
“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,” his mother, Betty Moore shared.
Chief Piland says Moore was filled with kindness.
“He was our mentor. He was always dedicated to others. He had high standards, especially when it comes to developing others. He was filled with loving kindness and was very compassionate,” said Chief Piland.
Both memorials signify strength and passion for the field – helping firemen to create a safer community not only in Hanover, but across the region.