Loudoun County and Metrorail officials were on hand to celebrate the first county Metro car fire-rescue training facility at the Oliver Robert Dubé Fire and Rescue Training Academy in Leesburg on Wednesday morning.
Firefighters demonstrated the steps to put out a track fire, working around a simulation of the 750-volt electrified third rail that powers Metro trains. Loudoun Combined Fire-Rescue System Assistant Chief Keith Johnson said the new training facility, made of 95 feet of simulated rail and two decommissioned 4000-series Metro cars, “will certainly pay dividends for the safety of our fire and rescue personnel, as well as everyone who will ride Metrorail for years to come.”
“I think it reflects very well that Loudoun county stepped to the plate years ahead of the services coming online,” said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. Metro’s Silver Line is expected to start running in Loudoun sometime in 2020.
County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) acknowledged that Metro has had “challenges and struggles,” said “we are going to get them all right.”
“But the moment we have everything right, […] the moment that Metro is the best transportation system in the world, will mean nothing if people do not feel like they can be safe on the system.”
Metro has its own police department, but no fire department. Up to now, Loudoun first responders have been travelling to Greenbelt, MD, to train. Loudoun Combined Fire-Rescue System Chief W. Keith Brower Jr. said first responders from across the region will be invited to train at Loudoun’s facility.
Loudoun Transportation and Capital Infrastructure Director Joe Kroboth said Loudoun’s is the first jurisdiction-level facility of its type in the Washington, DC, region. It will be used to train for a variety of scenarios, from fires to mass casualty incidents to active-shooter drills.