By Tim Riley
Special to the New Journal and Guide The Virginia Beach Fire Department has been awarded two “Governor’s Fire Service Awards” for its efforts in 2011. The Virginia Beach Fire Life Safety Brigade won the prestigious “Excellence in Virginia’s Public Fire and Life Safety Education” award for its “Water and Fire Safety, Bullying and Disaster Planning” programs that were provided to 22,458 students from kindergarten through third grade.
The city’s fire department won the “Outstanding Fire Department Response” award for its response to a boating accident in the Chesapeake Bay involving a 12-year-old girl, who was impaled on a boat propeller, in eight feet of water. John Pritchard and Craig Thompson of “Blue Marlin Marine” won the Civilian Life Saving Award for their contributions in the marine rescue of the girl. Pritchard donned SCUBA equipment and had specialized tools needed to remove the propellers, allowing firefighters to free the child and prepare her for transport to a local hospital. Contact Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Riley at 757-385-1075.