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Alexandria firefighters get coverage to attend fallen paramedic’s funeral

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As part of Alexandria’s plans to honor a paramedic who died in the line of duty last week, the command staff and first responders in the Alexandria Fire Department will be out of service from Wednesday night until Friday night.

First responders from Arlington and Fairfax will staff Alexandria’s firehouses during that time, according to Alexandria Chief Fire Marshal Robert Rodriguez.

Alexandria first responders will be attending a viewing and funeral for Joshua Weissman, 33, who died Feb. 8 while responding to a car fire on Interstate 395.

The memorial procession and services are expected to bring more than 200 fire trucks and thousands of people into Alexandria on Wednesday and Thursday. City officials ask that people avoid the area unless they are attending funeral events.

Rodriguez said firefighters and paramedics in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax regularly respond to calls in each other’s jurisdictions, so he does not anticipate a break in service.

“Our regional partners will come in and fill our stations and run our calls just like we normally do,” he said.

The Alexandria Fire Department has 265 employees, and will need about 90 personnel from neighboring counties to fill the two 24-hour shifts, from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 7 p.m. Friday, Rodriguez said. He said the switch will not cost Alexandria any overtime pay.

Alexandria City Public Schools will have early dismissal Thursday because of expected traffic volume. George Washington and Hammond middle schools, Minnie Howard School, T.C. Williams High School and Douglas McArthur Elementary will dismiss at 12:35 p.m.

All remaining elementary schools will dismiss at 1:20 p.m., according to city officials. The city has coordinated after-school care for students with early dismissal.

The following streets will be closed Thursday to accommodate the funeral: Janney’s Lane, Seminary Road, Van Dorn Street, Braddock Road and King Street.

A visitation for Weissman is scheduled for Wednesday from 5 p.m. until midnight at the Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 West Braddock Rd., Alexandria.

The funeral will be Thursday at 1 p.m. at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Rd., Alexandria. There is limited seating and guests are asked to sign up on the city’s Web site if they plan to attend.

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