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At their service

Fire officials show families the facilities during day of appreciation.

May 12, 2010|By Max Zimbert

Firefighters were the toast of Glendale and Burbank on Saturday, as both cities celebrated Fire Service Appreciation Day with food, demonstrations and station tours.

Both firehouses were filled with families posing for pictures with firehouses, police dogs and firefighters.

“I don’t know why I haven’t taken advantage of this before, especially because the little one wants to be a policeman or fireman,” said Christina Daniels, a Glendale resident.

Her 10-year-old son, Nicholas, knocked down an orange cone with a fire hose.

“It took me forever, but it was awesome,” he said.

Burbank Fire Department officials had an obstacle course set up where young children would knock down wooden fires with a hose, hammer plywood, move hoses from place to place, and coil a roughly 20-yard hose.

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“It’s a good father-daughter opportunity,” said Kevin Stewart, a Burbank resident. “It’s probably our fifth or sixth time out here. She likes it.”

The streets surrounding the Burbank Fire and Police Headquarters were lined with booths. Early Saturday morning, a police helicopter landed in the middle of Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue.

Up the block was a striker vehicle that’s primarily used during emergencies at Bob Hope Airport.

“Kids like this truck a lot, I guess because it’s bigger,” said Jay-C Harm, a firefighter with the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. “How many kids get to see, touch and look inside a fire truck?”

Staff spent three days cleaning the firehouse and engines leading up to the big day, said Mark Berg, a captain of Engine 21B in Glendale.

“And we’re going to do it all again tomorrow, because of the pancakes,” he said.

Berg was speaking about Glendale, but the reasons he said he loves his work could apply in Burbank, too.

“Every day is different and exciting,” he said. “Glendale is small enough you know everyone, but big enough that you’ve got hazardous materials, industrial, residential, brush, high rises, urban search and rescue — there’s a lot of specialties to get into.”

Five-year-old Marko Ratkovic had his picture taken with Officer Shawn Sholtis and Sam, a German shepherd in the Glendale Police Department’s K-9 unit.

“Firefighters are brave,” Marko said.

Jameson Stengal, a 7-year-old in Burbank, said the fire department’s ladder truck was the coolest thing he saw. The firetruck was parked outside the department’s garage, and had deployed its ladder about three stories into the air.

Jameson’s mother, Beth, said touring the station was the highlight of her day, especially seeing the department’s kitchen.

“It’s probably not too fun to have to leave in the middle of whatever you’re doing,” she said. “Especially if you have to go put out a fire.”


Get in touch MAX ZIMBERT covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at max.zimbert@latimes.com.

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