RIDGELEY, W.Va. — A member of the Ridgeley Town Council voiced concerns about recent fire department training held in the old vacant Ridgeley school during the council’s public meeting.
Councilwoman Tanya Ryan expressed great concern over the condition of the building after it was used by the firefighters, according to the town minutes of the May 28 meeting. Windows were said to be knocked out and glass was found everywhere around the school.
Ryan said during a phone interview that the town and fire department came together on an agreement to clean up the school and remove any hazards so that the kids can play football.
The fire department was granted permission to run the training program in the school building and is said to have done more damage than was already present in the building. According to Ryan, citizens were “disappointed” with how the building looked and were concerned with the amount of glass in and around the building.
Police Chief Mike Miller said the fire department was “very cordial” about the whole situation as they cleaned up the broken glass and boarded up the windows that were broken throughout the training program.
Miller said the program taking place in the school provided the fire department with “good, realistic training” and was “necessary for a high-risk job” such as being a firefighter.
Robbie Pollock of the Ridgeley Volunteer Fire Department feels that his department did nothing wrong and that “the only concern was the glass,” which he said was picked up by the department three times. “The mayor and chief of police checked the area and agreed that it was suitably cleaned up,” Pollock said.
Pollock said that the fire department paid to board up all of the broken windows on the football field side of the school as well. “The town let us use it numerous times over the years and we’ve never had any issues with the Town Council,” he said.
The program was conducted by Capital Fire Training, who sent instructors from Washington, New York, Phil-adelphia and Baltimore to Ridgeley to help train the firefighters.
“We had a lot of young firemen get overwhelmingly great training. The guys brought special tools, showed new techniques not used in rural areas and we couldn’t have asked for better instructors,” Pollock said. The instructors demonstrated several truck and engine operations during the training.