HLT was very proud to partner with the Abingdon Fire Company on June 2 for a controlled training burn on our Welzenbach Farm on Willoughby Beach Road in Edgewood.
We acquired the property through our partnership with Aberdeen Proving Ground three years ago.
Unfortunately, the home had fallen into disrepair before HLT acquired the property. We assessed it for needed repairs which were numerous and costly. HLT also engaged with the Historical Society which didn’t not find the structure to have any documented historical significance. However, we do share the sincere affection the Edgewood community has for the home. We studied multiple alternatives, but in the end felt that removing the home was the best solution for our organization and the community given the risks that come with a permanently vacant home.
Over a year ago, we began discussions with the Abingdon Fire Company about the possibility of a training burn. This option proved to be significantly more time consuming and costly than a traditional demolition. The permitting process and home preparation requirements are extensive. Our staff and volunteers have dedicated countless hours to this project.
One June 2, both the Abingdon Fire Company and the APG Fire Department conducting over a dozen training evolutions providing invaluable learning to the fire fighters. After each crew’s evolution, the team debriefed about the experience with senior leaders providing feedback.
We thank our members and the Edgewood community for their support with this project. This was a difficult decision but we are so thankful that removal of the house provided such a unique training opportunity for our community fire fighters. The property will be permanently protected from residential subdivision and will remain an environmental and scenic asset to the community. We continue to rent the ground for agricultural use to continue the property’s rich legacy.