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A fire and safety educational facility looking to add interactive theatre

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A fire and safety educational facility in Longview is looking to add to its tools to teach children. A fire and safety educational facility in Longview is looking to add to its tools to teach children.
(KLTV) - A fire and safety educational facility in Longview is looking to add to its tools to teach children about how to act in an emergency. Safety city, a child-sized city in Longview, hopes to add a fire safety theatre.

With 16 small buildings, Safety City represents a little Longview with a big goal. When stocked with bikes, cars and kids, its simulates a real traffic environment. Since it opening in 1991, has a been model for other cities to use but perhaps most needed here.

“For this area, per capita, our injuries are higher than other metroplex cities,"  Longview Fire Marshall Johnny Zackary explains. He wants to take it to a different level. He added, “We are to the point though the way the kids learn and things change that we are going to add some elements that we feel like will take this many years down the road in providing a safe learning environment that literally could save their life."

The Fire Safety Theatre will simulate smoke inside a home and teach children many things including how to open a window. The project has the blueprint plans complete and ready to break ground. The only obstacle is funding.

“Little children learn by doing and it’s one thing to tell them what to do. It’s entirely different for them to feel how heavy that window is to open," Penne Duke, a a teacher at Presbyterian Children’s Center in Longview said.

For Chief Zackary, the reason he is so driven to see the Fire Safety Theatre completed , comes from an incident that he would love to forget but drives him to educated young children. “When I put my hands on Rudy, I knew this wasn’t a good day,” Zackary recalls.

A few years ago when Chief Zackary was a firefighter, he found a 10-year-old boy named Rudy, who was unable to lift the window and escape his burning home. “We actually found him at the window. He had died with his arms on the couch trying to leave the house through the window,” Zackary explained.

Safety city is funded by community supporters with $300,000 still needed to complete the Fire Safety Theatre. If you are interested in helping support, you can contact the Longview Fire Marshal at (903) 237-1119.

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