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Legacy of deadly 1996 Advance Auto Parts Store fire in Chesapeake, VA creates a firefighter

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Advance Auto Parts report by J. Gordon Routely & Jeff Stern

Many are familiar with the fire in March, 1996 at the Advance Auto Parts Store in Chesapeake, Virginia that took the lives of Firefighter Frank Young and Firefighter John Hudgins, Jr. It has been well studied and used in many training courses.

As you can imagine, it has long been a part of recruit training for the Chesapeake Fire Department. In the department’s most recent recruit class one of the people listening to this difficult lesson was Jordan Hudgins. He was three-years-old when his father was killed.

Take a moment to read this wonderful article by Virginian-Pilot reporter Margaret Matray that profiles Jordan Hudgins and his new career as a firefighter:

The fire recruit stepped onto the stage, dressed in his formal uniform.

For six months, Jordan Hudgins and his classmates had hauled 40-pound hoses up three flights of stairs and rescued dummies from obstacle courses.

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It had all led to this: graduation from the city’s fire academy.

For Jordan, the moment held extra meaning. His father, John Hudgins Jr., died in the line of duty 20 years ago – one of Chesapeake’s fallen firefighters. Now, Jordan had chosen the same vocation, joining his father’s old department.

Read entire article

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