By Erin Ehlke
Mason Times Staff Writer
About 500 people came to the Mason Fire Department on Oct. 5 open house. The fire station has this open house every year to start fire prevention week.
Fire Chief Kerry Minshall said this event began before he had even started working there in the 1980’s.
Activities included fire truck rides, a game with fire hoses, dressup, lunch provided by A&W, a fire safety house, door prizes and a demonstration of a car being taken apart.
Firefighters don’t just handle fires, but car accidents as well. The demonstration showed how firefighters rescue people who are trapped inside vehicles.
“We do a lot of accidents, especially Michigan in the wintertime” said Minshall.
Right next to the car demonstration were the fire hoses. Kids got to spray a fire hose (with adult help) at a wooden house with fake fire in the windows.
On the other side of the station, kids were getting dressed up in fire gear. Aleasha Wood, a planner of the event, made sure to point out how these dress-up clothes were not something you would buy at a Halloween store.
“They’re not the kind made out of plastic. It’s what they (the firefighters) would wear but smaller, and not fireproof.”
One of the more popular activities at the open house was the fire safety house.
The fire station purchased this fire safety house after the James Malcolm fire in 1995. James Malcolm died after hiding in a closet during a fire.
The fire safety house is a trailer built like a house. Once all the kids are in,firefighters fill it with smoke and have the kids find their way out to safety.
What would a fire station be without a Dalmatian? The Mason fire department has a Dalmatian named Ember that made an appearance at the open house.
The Mason Fire Department has 38 volunteer firefighters, one of whom is Dennis Howe. Howe,who is also a sixth-grade teacher, decided to become a volunteer very spontaneously.
“I was walking around downtown one day after church and thought to myself I could do that.”
Howe stood in full fire gear and showed the kids some of the equipment the firefighters//The way you have structured this sentence, this pronoun would take readers back to kids. Say fire fighters instead.// use.
A lot of classes in Mason are coming in to tour the fire station to learn more about fire safety.
Howe said his class probably won’t visit the station, though.
“They get their fair share in class already.”