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July 11, 2019

Throwback Thursday: Four drown in Rectortown pond

July 1994: Rescue squad volunteers take one of the four drowning victims to a waiting ambulance at Rectortown.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of July 8, 1994

Rectortown pond claims 4 victims

Four Marshall area residents — ages 7 to 27 — drowned in a Rectortown pond last Thursday morning.

A group of four children and one adult stopped their bicycles at the pond as the temperature soared, took off their shoes and socks and waded into the murky water.

One of them, a 10-year-old boy, hesitated. He noticed that the other four began to struggle, perhaps going to far into the pond for non-swimmers.

The boy hopped on his bike and rode about three miles to his grandparents’ house for help.

Marshall Volunteer Rescue Squad member Randy Embrey, the first to reach the scene, probed the silt bottom with his hands and feet. Embrey, 27, began to pull victims from the pond as other first-responders arrived. But, it proved too late.

“Each victim had a paramedic,” he said. “Drugs were started. Everything that could have been done was done. Everyone worked together.”

Authorities later estimated the four had been under water about 45 minutes.

Nobody can recall a drowning incident that cost so many lives — maybe one of the most tragic events in county history, Sheriff Joe Higgs said.

Spy base may get smaller

The Central Intelligence Agency and other government organizations have begun consolidation that may result in closing part of the Warrenton Training Center.

Shrouded in secrecy, the 43-year-old training center includes 715 acres in three Fauquier locations. It also has a 200-acre antenna field near Brandy Station in Culpeper County.

Local officials estimate that 600 civilians work at the facility. Bu, federal agencies this week refused to release employment statistics.

“We are not on any type of base closure list,” said Bettina M. McWhirt, an Army spokeswoman at the center. “The Warrenton Training Center is under review. However, no decision has been made and no schedule has been set . . . . We’re just studying the possibilities.”

But, the CIA has confirmed plans to consolidate its facilities here, according to a spokeswoman for Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va./10th).

Area code changing to 540 next July

The vast majority of Fauquier’s telephone customers will have a new area code beginning next year.

Bell Atlantic Corp. on Wednesday announced the creation of area code 540 to serve the western portion of Virginia, from Lee County in southwest to Winchester and Leesburg in the north. The new code will go into effect July 15, 1995.

The only Fauquier customers unaffected are those in the 754 exchange near Nokesville along the county’s eastern edge. Those customers will remain in the 703 area code, along with Northern Virginia.

Lightning hits Remington post office

A bolt of lightning apparently started a fire that caused more than $2,500 worth of damage to Remington’s post office last Thursday.

No one suffered an injury in the fire, which started around 2:45 p.m. as a thunderstorm blew through town.

The fire damaged the roof and attic of the post office and partially burned the back wall of the brick building, which the U.S. Postal Service leases from Remington builder Claude Price.

Use down, but classroom trailers won’t disappear

With the opening of Liberty High and the switch to middle schools in the fall, Fauquier public education officials planned to get rid of classroom trailers.

“We’re trying to clear the schools of trailers,” Support Services Director Butch Farley said. “We told citizens we would do that when the bond passed.”

But, Central, Coleman and Pierce elementary schools, along with the four middle schools, will use 38 portable classrooms in the fall.

The trailers will cost about $145,000 for the year.

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