Foundation News

New Documentary: The Story of Harrisonburg Tower 1

New Documentary: The Story of Harrisonburg Tower 1

Harrisonburg Fire Department’s Near Miss

November 14, 2020, started off just like any other day for the Harrisonburg Fire Department in Virginia. At 10:07 am, everything changed.

The department was alerted for a structure fire, not an uncommon occurrence for the four-station department – serving approximately 52,000 residents and home to James Madison University.

It was what happened to Tower 1 that made this response different.

The Harrisonburg Fire Department takes pride in its professionalism and commitment to safety. On November 14, a convergence of forces resulted in a situation that nearly led to the death of one of Tower 1’s members. As Tower 1’s officer noted, “I would feel awful if this happened somewhere else…if doing this awareness saves just one person, it’s worth it.”

Thank you to Chief Matt Tobia and the members of the Harrisonburg Fire Department for courageously sharing their near-miss event.

Watch The Story of Tower 1, including the incident video, here.

What drives firefighters to action is compliance and a demand for accountability. Company officers need to hold their people accountable. Apparatus operators should never move a vehicle without making sure that the personnel in the vehicle are seated and belted. It's literally that simple.