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Fundraiser to benefit new fire and rescue training facility in Montgomery Co.

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BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - A Blacksburg dealership is Driven to Give to a new fire and rescue training facility in Montgomery County.

Duncan Ford Lincoln Mazda is hosting the fundraiser Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and will donate $20 to a new training facility for fire and rescue crews for every test drive. Duncan will donate another $20 for the first 100 people who take a second test drive in a new Lincoln Navigator.

The goal is to raise $8,000 for the facility.

David Duncan of Duncan Ford Lincoln Mazda explained, "We just saw it is a great opportunity to serve the whole community, all the first responders in Montgomery County, as far as getting trained for fire prevention whether it be a house or vehicle. It was just a natural fit."

Construction is expected to begin on Merrimac Road for the new training facility by summer, but emergency responders are already focused on the benefits it will bring to the New River Valley.

Montgomery County's Emergency Services Coordinator Neal Turner said the building will be crucial for hands-on training experience.

"It's a training prop. The burn building itself, it's a 20 that allows us to simulate fire heat and smoke," Turner explained.

He said Montgomery County's 11 fire and rescue agencies - all staffed by volunteers - will use it to train for situations they might find themselves in on any given day. It will also allow those volunteers to stay close to home, rather than traveling to Roanoke or Galax for training.

"It gives us an opportunity to put firefighters and protective equipment and gear, allow them to enter the building just like it would be a live burn in a home," Turner said. "It gives us an opportunity to keep them here at home, that way if during a training event disaster disaster would occur we have the ability to bring that training down people and send people to the call."

Firefighters, EMTs and police will have use of the two-story structure, which is paid for in large part by a Department of Fire Programs grant, and supplemented by fundraisers like the one from Duncan.