CLARKS SUMMIT — The Clarks Summit Fire Company put together its 50th annual open house Saturday, Oct. 15 in honor of Fire Prevention Week, recognized Oct. 9-15.
Children and parents were invited to the fire house to get a first-hand look at how local firefighters volunteer to serve the community.
“We appreciate the community coming out to support us,” said Clarks Summit firefighter/EMT Leonard Hazelton. “And in return, they know we’re volunteers and we’re here 24/7.”
Children were given free fire truck rides around the block. Firefighter J.J. Amabile supervised children using a fire hose to spray on a display of a house on fire. They also had free food, such as hot dogs and cookies, provided by the Joseph W. Hall Auxiliary.
“The kids are very excited,” said auxiliary member Karyn Bevard. “They get to do hands-on activities. It’s a great way to educate the kids and parents.”
Other auxiliary members at the event included Linda Jenkins, who minded the food, and Mari Bowen, who minded the raffle baskets.
For the past three years, other local service organization joined the Clarks Summit Fire Company’s open house. The Lackawanna County SWAT Team’s truck was on display for children to look inside.
SWAT commander Jim Decker allowed children to try on some of the equipment, such as a shield, vest, and helmet. Decker enjoys coming to events like the open house to talk about what the SWAT Team does.
“I think it brings everybody together,” he said. “It lets kids see what we have. The parents have just as many questions as kids do.”
The Lackawanna County Dispatch Center and Commonwealth Health, which brought a helicopter, have also been coming to the open house for the past three years.
During the last hour of the open house, children and their parents watched and felt the intense heat from the fire during a live firefighting demonstration held outside of the Clarks Summit Fire Company’s building.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Zoe Jimenez, whose father is a paramedic for Commonwealth Health. “I also thought it was pretty scary.”
Firefighters Tom Hildebrand and Isabella Camayd put out the fire that was burning a display put together by the firefighters.
“It was successful,” Hildebrand said about being able to extinguish the flames.
Firefighter and chairman of the open house Bob Bass stressed to the audience some fire survival tips.
“When you leave the building that’s on fire, always close the doors,” he said.
Bass also pointed out the importance of having smoke detectors.
“You should have one on each floor,” he said.
The parents found the live demonstration to be educational.
“I think it’s very informative as well as engaging,” said South Abington Township resident Janine Baux, who brought her daughters Natalie, 5, and Antonia, 3. “It’s intense to see how fast the fire can spread if you don’t have the proper precautions.”
The Clarks Summit Fire Company will continue to have future open houses to share with the community.
“It’s always a good turnout,” said Chief Ryan Miller. “We like to support the community and the community supports us.”