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November 13, 2017

Orlean starts building new fire/rescue station

With a construction office trailer in the foreground and the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop, about 75 Orlean area residents gathered Sunday afternoon to break ground for a new, long-anticipated fire and rescue station.

Although participants turned a few ceremonial shovels of dirt, grading already has begun on the site along Leeds Manor Road. Lantz Construction of Winchester has 15 months to build the 18,400-square-foot station.

County funds and donations will pay for the $6.9-million project.

“You are getting something back for your tax dollars,” Orlean Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department President Jeff Clark told the audience.

The northwestern part of Fauquier County — all of Marshall District, for that matter — has no public school, Mr. Clark noted.

“We hope this will become a center for the community,” he added.

Mr. Clark thanked the citizens and volunteers who’ve contributed and waited patiently for the new station, planned for almost a decade.

The volunteer department started in 1972 to address the need in that part of Fauquier.

“These people didn’t wait for government took take action,” Mr. Clark said. “They took action.”

It stated in a garage with 60 people. “They didn’t have a building; they didn’t have a truck,” the company president recalled. “They bought a used truck from Marshall.”

Mr. Clark said the first volunteers had a simple goal: “Hold the line and keep a fire from spreading until help could arrive.”

But, the volunteer company evolved and grew, adding emergency medical services and expanding beyond the capacity of its original station, built in 1973 on donated land.

The new station will stand next door, and the old building will get demolished in 2019.

“This is truly a partnership between the Orlean department and Fauquier County,” said Tom Marable, president of the county volunteer fire and rescue association. “A lot of people have worked really, really hard to provide something for the community.”

Mr. Marable praised the Orlean community’s patience. The county has built or renovated four other fire/rescue stations since 2003, he noted.

The Orlean station has 42 active volunteers on its roster; two career firefighter/medics work 12-hour shifts — 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The new station will have large, drive-thru equipment bays, a bunk and living area and a community hall.

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