Although it was never his title or in his job description, Larry Shifflett was — and still is — a teacher with a heavy emphasis on local history. Shifflett headed the city’s fire department from 1983 to 2016, longer than any other city chief and, along the way, unintentially built a museum.
“This is an exercise,” Stephanie Harris told the crowd about to take part in a Monday morning training exercise with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Around her were about 160 volunteer “victims” of a simulated gas explosion at JMU’s Bridgeforth Stadium, along with dozens of rescue and security personnel that would be responding to the disaster.
The aftermath of the fire has triggered anew a disagreement between the City of Harrisonburg, state legislators and lobbyists for the apartment management industry over a city ordinance that was enacted in 2015 and, prompted several bills in the General Assembly and became the subject of a legal battle that lasted more than a year.
An improperly discarded cigarette on the deck of a first-floor apartment ignited the fire that engulfed the Southview Apartment building at 1083 Lois Lane on Thursday, according to the Harrisonburg Police Department’s investigation.