A fire safety trailer has new life.
Fire departments from across Martinsville and Henry County restored the trailer.
With fundraising started by Martinsville’s fire marshal at the time, the trailer was purchased in the 1990s.
This is the second major rebuild it has had due to it being exposed to the elements while being stored outside.
“Out of the 9 departments, we all put in time and labor and effort and purchased things. We are probably $20,000 in for labor and materials and it was about a two-year project,” said Andy Powers, Martinsville Fire Marshal.
The trailer is used at schools, churches and day care centers to demonstrate fire safety and prevention.
“Kids at a young age can utilize the knowledge and they can take that back home,” stated Keith Sink, Fieldale Fire Deputy Chief.
Firefighters say the in-person exposure helps students learn better.
“Especially if you've got a visual for them. I can talk and that don't necessarily mean nothing, but if I've got something where they can learn a little bit, play a little bit, if we will, they will retained that,” explained Jerry Adams, Patrick Henry Fire Deputy Chief.
Officials say the training has been proven to be successful over the years.
“They put a group through it and then many years later, one of those students had a fire. One of the things that that student told us was that he still remembered everything he was taught in this house and that helped him at that fire,” recalled Rodney Howell, Martinsville Fire Chief.
The experience has also sparked an interest in a firefighting career for some children.
“We did have a guy come to us as a junior member several years ago that said ever since this trailer was brought to the school when he was young and he seen it, learned and the fire department was there it put a bug inside of him. He did join the fire department and stayed with us for several years until he went to the military,” William Martin, Horsepasture Fire Chief, shared.
The trailer will be shared with all the volunteer fire departments, Martinsville Fire and EMS and Henry County Public Safety.
“This is only going to be another tool in our toolbox to help with all that pub ed and teaching kids at a young age,” said Junior Lynch, Bassett Fire Chief.
Community members and local businesses donated time and money to fund the renovation.
“We supplied a location for them to paint it that is climate-controlled and a member and his family actually painted the fire safety house after completion, stated Albert Goins, Ridgeway Fire Chief.
The Martinsville-Henry County Firefighter’s Association is still in need of storage location.