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Morrell VFD to host sessions to keep firefighters safe when dealing with drug labs

| Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 6:33 a.m.

Local first responders have an open invitation to a training session for responding to incidents involving drug labs.

Morrell Volunteer Fire Department President Jim Daugherty said the idea to update local first responders with such a training session came after an incident in late September. Police chased through Fayette County a West Virginia couple who allegedly was producing methamphetamine out of a truck and utility trailer along the Youghiogheny River in Dunbar Township.

The suspects fled in the truck, which crashed into a North Union home. The man fled into a nearby residence and after an hours-long standoff, eventually killed himself. The woman surrendered and was taken into custody.

“This is a serious problem,” Daugherty said of the drug selling, using and production in the county.

He added that firefighters and other first responders have responded to fires, only to find out after they're inside that the engulfed structure was a working methamphetamine lab.

The program will be hosted by Morrell VFD and conducted by state police at Hershey.

“They'll tell us what we should and shouldn't do and what to be aware of,” Daugherty said, adding that the training is not only for methamphetamine labs, but all drug operations.

So far, Daugherty said they received a good response to news of the presentation and have plenty of room for more to attend.

“We all have been taking as much training as possible to become better in what we're doing,” Daugherty said. “This is something that is going to add to our portfolio and it's something we'll have better knowledge of.”

Daugherty said the session also ties in with his fire department's motto of “We Care,” which includes upcoming events to help the community, such as a bingo on Nov. 17, where a donation of five canned goods will allow people in to play bingo for free or on Nov. 24, when a donation of a toy will get them in for free to play bingo.

Morrell will also hold a blanket/coat drive sometime in December.

The training session will begin 7 p.m. on Thursday at Morrell VFD along Route 119, the former location of Richard Chevrolet.

For more information, contact Morrell VFD at 724-603-2176 or 412-582-2868.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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