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Second rail rescue class set to graduate today

By Staff
RESCUE CLASS Picayune firefighter Pat Weaver, left, rescues a "victim" while fellow firefighter Kris Foster, center, also from Picayune, rescues another from an overturned Amtrak passenger train car on Thursday at Meridian's training center on Sand Flat Road. Ridgeland firefighter Ben Hudens, right, watches. The three men were among about 20 emergency responders from around the state who participated in a four-day class on how to handle a possible passenger train disaster. Photo by Anna Wright/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Feb. 27, 2004
About 20 emergency responders from around the state will graduate today from a passenger rail training course they took at Meridian's training center on Sand Flat Road.
This was the second of eight statewide groups, most of which consist of city firefighters and police officers, that will receive free instruction at the training center the only such site in the nation with a full-size Amtrak engine and four cars with which to train.
The four-day class concludes with graduation ceremonies at the training center. The training is funded through a $350,000 Federal Railroad Administration grant earmarked for Meridian.
The completion of the center's second class comes about three months after Partridge retired as chief of the Meridian Fire Department and then moved into his new job as head of the city's training center.
In October, the city regained control of the center, which was once leased to Three I Public Safety Inc. a nonprofit group. Today, Partridge directs all of the city's emergency training at the 99-acre center.
Partridge said the center continues to operate well under the city's control, and he's excited about this year's second rail rescue class graduation.