#MeetFCFRD: Firefighter Vinny Harrison


Firefighter (FF) Vinny Harrison spends his days at Fire Station 11, Penn Daw, doing what he loves. He is assigned to Truck 411 and is ready to help Fairfax County residents and visitors at a moment’s notice. When he isn’t helping his community, FF Harrison is surrounded by coworkers who are more like family.

Growing up, he never imagined he would have a career in the fire service. He lived in Atlanta, Georgia until age 13 when his family moved to Richmond, Virginia. They lived there for a year before settling in Gainesville, Virginia. FF Harrison was homeschooled through high school. He played football in a recreation league with other kids who also played on their high school’s varsity teams. After high school, he began taking classes at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC). He wanted to study kinesiology, the study of the mechanics of body movement, and planned on earning his Associates degree at NVCC before transferring to George Mason University to complete his degree.

During this time FF Harrison earned a certification in personal training and began working as a personal trainer at a gym in Gainesville. Even though he was the youngest trainer at the gym, he was quickly able to turn personal training into a full-time job holding the gym’s highest clientele base. However, as he began to get more serious with his then girlfriend he began thinking about a more stable career.

As luck would have it, FCFRD Captain Merritt worked out at the same gym using a different trainer. He spotted FF Harrison across the gym and asked to speak with to him about becoming a firefighter. Out of respect, FF Harrison heard what he had to say. He realized that a career in the fire service had everything he liked – camaraderie, the ability to help people, and the adrenaline rush that comes with responding to an emergency.  

Six months later FF Harrison joined FCFRD as a new recruit with a new fiancée. He graduated as member of Recruit Class 138 in June 2015. FF Harrison served at Fire Station 19, Lorton, where he stayed for a little over a year before transferring to Fire Station 11.

FF Harrison loves knowing that when he comes to work he is making a difference. He loves helping others. One of his proudest moments was helping to rescue a little girl out of a house fire in early 2019. The call was featured in UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute’s Close Before You Doze Fall 2019 campaign (https://youtu.be/MpNqcUyLTL4). At the end of a 24-hour shift, he goes home happy and exhausted knowing he has made a positive impact within the community he serves.

Have you wondered what it would be like to #JoinTeamFCFRD? Contact our recruiters at fire.recruitment@fairfaxcounty.gov or (703) 246-3939 to learn more.

Fire Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Beacon Hill Apartments Fires

The Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s Office is asking anyone with information regarding two fires that occurred in the Beacon Hill Apartment complex between October 12 and October 14 to come forward.

On Saturday, October 12, at approximately 1:18 a.m., units responded to reports of a fire in an apartment building in the 3300 block of Southgate Drive in the Groveton area of Fairfax County. Further investigation revealed the fire was caused by an improvised incendiary device being placed and ignited against an apartment door.

On Monday, October 14, at approximately 12:33 a.m., units responded to reports of a fire in the stairwell of an apartment building in the 6600 block of Tower Drive in the Groveton area of Fairfax County. Fire investigators found an ignitable liquid in the stairwell.

Both fires were quickly extinguished. No one was displaced as a result of the fires.

Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone -1-866-411-TIPS      (866-411-8477), by text – Type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411, and by web  – Click HERE.  Download our Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers“. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest.

For ongoing updates, please read our blog and follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.



Herndon Apartment Fire Caused By Unattended Cooking

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On Sunday, September 29, at approximately 12:47 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue were dispatched for a reported apartment fire in the 900 block of Park Avenue in the Town of Herndon.

Units arrived on the scene of a three-story, garden style apartment to find smoke showing from the attic. Crews were able to work quickly to extinguish the fire and contain it to the apartment where the fire started. There were no firefighter injuries reported. One civilian was transported to an area hospital for a check-up.

Five occupants were home when the fire was discovered. Twenty-six occupants were in the apartment building at the time of the fire. There were no smoke alarms in the apartment. There were working smoke alarms in the adjacent apartments.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the kitchen. The cause of the fire was grease that ignited in a pan on the cook stove after being left unattended.

Ten occupants from two apartments were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted. Damages were approximately $93,750.

Cooking related fires are one of the leading cause of fires locally and nationally. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would like to remind all residents about cooking safely. Please remember to “Watch What You Heat!

Recipe for Safe Cooking

Fire Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fair Oaks Dumpster Fires

Fire investigators from the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s Office are asking anyone with information regarding two dumpster fires that occurred on September 7, 2019 to come forward. At 9:30 p.m., units responded to a dumpster fire in the 12200 block of Fairfield House Drive in the Fair Oaks area. Later that night, at 11:00 p.m., units responded again to the same complex for a fire in another dumpster. Both fires were quickly extinguished.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Captain Timothy Palmer at (703) 246-4707. Fire investigators would like to remind callers they can remain anonymous.

For ongoing updates, please read our blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Apply Now For Community Fire And Rescue Academy

Want to learn more about the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department? Want to participate in an interesting, fun-filled, eight-week program that will show you what firefighters and paramedics do every day?

You can now apply to the Community Fire and Rescue Academy (CFRA)! The CFRA is open to persons 18 and older who live in Fairfax County. Each session will cover different aspects of the organization, providing an in-depth overview of the department and its uniformed and civilian workforce. Program topics include: fire suppression, emergency medical services, training, recruitment, special operations, and other interesting topics.

CFRA Application will be accepted until September 13, 2019. The Academy will begin September 26, 2019, and will meet for eight consecutive Thursdays, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and ending on November 14, 2019.

To learn more about the program and to sign up, please go here: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire-ems/cfra



Fireworks Safety


The Fourth of July would not be the same without those breathtaking fireworks. However, tragedy can strike within seconds when fireworks are not properly and safely used. Thousands of people are injured each year in the United States due to fireworks. Consider the following safety tips when using permissible fireworks:

  • Keep all bystanders at least 25 feet away from fireworks.
  • During the use of permissible fireworks, minors should be supervised by a parent or legal guardian. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Adults should always supervise activities involving the use of permissible fireworks. Parents often do not realize there are more injuries from sparklers to children under five than from any other type of fireworks. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
  • When using permissible fireworks, place the device on a flat surface, clear of any combustible material and clear of all buildings (50 feet).
  • When using permissible fireworks, place the device on a flat surface, clear of any combustible material and clear of all buildings (50 feet).
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one fireworks device at a time, then back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • Avoid buying or handling fireworks that come packaged in brown paper as this can often be a sign that the fireworks are commercial or display-type fireworks made for professional fireworks shows. These fireworks can pose a serious danger to consumers and the public.
  • Read the directions on fireworks packaging.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

Don’t forget the safety of your pets during firework’s season!

  • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
  • Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

For an expanded list of fireworks safety tips, as well as information on fireworks safety-related publications, reports, videos, news, and recalls, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Fireworks Information Center online.

A list of legal and illegal fireworks for Virginia can be found at: http://www.dof.virginia.gov/fire/safety/fireworks.htm