‘Not every hero wears a cape,’ Carbondale Fire Department puts on annual open house

The annual open house demonstrated vehicle rescues and featured Sparky, the firehouse mascot.


Nicole Tillberg | @nicoletillberg

Four-year-old Jeremiah Davis uses the fire hose in one of the many activites hosted by the Carbondale Fire Department at their open house on Saturday, October 5th to kick off National Fire Prevention Week.

By Ashlyn Ege, Staff Reporter

The Carbondale Fire Department held their annual open house on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon to kick off fire prevention month. 

The theme was “Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape!”

The fire trucks were on display for the community and kids to explore and firehouse tours. 


Sparky, the firehouse mascot, took lots of pictures, and gave several hugs and highfives throughout the event. Kermit, the firehouse’s dog, couldn’t attend the open house.

This year, some of the firefighters demonstrated how they would save a victim in a wreck by taking apart a vehicle. They dismantled the door and the top of the roof to get their patients out safely. 

“Hopefully showing them the car demonstration, it’ll make it less scary if they ever happen to be in a wreck,” Faron Rushing, Carbondale fire captain, said.

Nicole Tillberg | @nicoletillberg
Five-year-old David Long hugs Sparky, the fire house dog on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 during the Carbondale Fire Department’s Open House.

Rushing said they show how to go about proofing the car and making sure everything is stabilized before they start cutting.

“I think it impacts them,” Rushing said. “Just so they won’t be so scared.”

Rushing said blankets are put on the passengers during a wreck so no glass or sharp metal will touch them. He said hopefully showing that process keeps kids calm in the event of a wreck.

Mike Hertz, the fire chief, said they teach fire prevention, how to extinguish cars and what tools the fire department has at this event.


The firefighters didn’t wear their airpacks during the open house. Rushing said they do that at daycares and schools to keep kids from being scared if a firefighter approaches them.

“Don’t be scared of us,” Hertz said. “We’re just here to help.”

The department also had hands-on activities for the community, such as a fire hose the kids could use to put out a pretend fire and a station for adults to practice using a fire extinguisher. Hertz said a lot of people haven’t used an extinguisher before.

On Oct. 3, the fire department went to three local elementary schools- Trinity, Lewis, and Parrish- with the Lifesaver student group from Carbondale Community High School. The Lifesavers performed a skit about fire safety, and Sparky made a special guest appearance. 

Vickie Groves and her mother Ona Groves, who turned 92 in November, attended the open house. They said their grandchildren were at the assemblies earlier that week and they wanted to come to the open house to see the demonstrations. 

Hertz said “it’s good to get the community here to show what we have to offer and show the assets we have” as well as to show firemen are just people who want to help out. 

Staff reporter Ashlyn Ege can be reached at [email protected].

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