Why the Richmond Fire Department spared this old flagpole

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This flagpole — the lone survivor of the demolition Tuesday of two old American Red Cross buildings next to Nichol Park in Richmond — doesn’t have any known historical significance, but there’s no need to get rid of a perfectly good flagpole, according to fire officials.

When we reported about the demolition of the 71-year-old buildings at 3200 Macdonald Ave., which were unused for years and causing blight, we were told several top officials of the Richmond Fire Department had requested the flagpole be spared. At the time, officials with the Richmond Police Department’s code enforcement unit, which worked on the demolition project, suspected the flagpole has a storied past.

And perhaps it does, but Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Rico Rincon told us Thursday that Fire Chief Adrian Sheppard has a more practical reason to keep it. Instead of purchasing a new flagpole to erect at the department’s training facility at 3506 Cutting Blvd., the chief intends to have the one from the Red Cross property restored in-house. Once it’s near to new again, it will be relocated to the “top of our training tower,” Rincon said.

As they say, waste not, want not.

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