News to Know for Jan. 23: Massive fire at old Bedford school; 3 US firefighters die in Australia; State Senate to discuss abortion legislation

News to Know for Jan. 23

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Here’s a quick look at the top headlines we’re following this morning.

Fire at Old Virginia School

Crews fighting fire at old Bedford middle school (Source: WSLS)

According to WSLS, the fire started at a vacant building at 503 Longwood Avenue that used to be a school.

Firefighters told WSLS they’ve been fighting the blaze for so long they lost track.

3 US Firefighters Die in Australia

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths and crash in comments to reporters as Australia attempts to deal with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction. She tweeted condolences to the victims’ families and to “the tight-knit firefighting community.”

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says all three aboard were U.S. residents.

What’s Happening in Politics?

A bill is set to be discussed that would elect a president based on the popular vote, not the electoral vote.

If passed, the bill would essentially be a pact among states who agree to participate. Virginia specifically would agree to grant all of its 13 electoral votes to the overall U.S. popular vote winner.

A winning president has lost the popular vote five times in U.S. history.

The bill argues that the state does have the power to decide how to allocate its electoral vote through the Second Article of the Constitution. It would not go into effect until states with a majority of the electoral votes join.

Abortion Legislation

Also today, state senators are expected to discuss legislation regarding abortion. Democrats have filed several bills that would eliminate requiring an ultrasound, a waiting period and for women under age 18 to get parental consent prior to a procedure.

The Senate Education and Health Committee will meet at 8 a.m.

Impeachment Trial Continues

It’s day two of the house managers’ opening arguments as they lay out their case against President Trump.

During day one of opening remarks yesterday, police arrested a man who they say unlawfully entered the chamber are started yelling, briefly interrupting proceedings.

As the trial carried on, Democrats continued driving home their core allegations - that resident trump obstructed Congress and abused his power by urging Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals. They have three days total before the president’s defense team takes over.

The trial continues at 1 p.m. today - Stream it live on NBC12′s website and Facebook page.

Missing Man

FLOOD YOUR FEEDS! His family is very concerned.

Posted by NBC12 on Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Christopher M. Smith, 55, has not been seen by his family since Jan. 4 and deputies say the family is concerned since this is not normal behavior.

Smith’s vehicle was found abandoned along Interstate 64 on Jan. 7 by Virginia State Police in the area of mile marker 199.

The family has been unable to make contact with him since then. If you see him, call 804 966-9500 or 804 780-1000.


Several parents reached out to us, frustrated over speeding drivers near tucker high school. Typically parham road is 45 mph in front of the school but drops to 25 when school is starting or letting out.

Concerns over speeding drivers on Parham Rd. near high school

Henrico police tell us they are aware of the problem. Meantime, the county’s public works department says a nearly $5 million project is in the works to create a new traffic signal and sidewalks at Homeview Drive and Parham Road to ease safety concerns.

Totally Koalafied

The images from the Australian wildfires are causing many to step up to help, including 12-year-old Michael Amann from Richmond.

He’s selling koala t-shirts to donate money to victims of the wildfires. He’s hoping to raise $1,000!

12-year-old Richmond boy sells t-shirts to raise money for Australia fire victims

The family plans to donate all of the proceeds to the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Koala Foundation. Buy one here.

Final Thought

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” - Muhammad Ali

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