|Despite bone-chilling rain and gusty winds Saturday, scores of local families turned up at the Southport Volunteer Fire Department's annual open house.
Visitors to the 100-year-old fire station were treated to motor vehicle extraction demonstrations and rollover simulations, sit in a fire truck, and tour the firefighters' quarters. The firefighters also gave away plastic fire helmets to children, bags full of stickers, coloring books and fire-prevention pamphlets, and served bagels, muffins, hot dogs and hot cider.
The Southport Volunteer Fire Department was founded on Halloween night, October 31, 1895, with the first corps of volunteers based at a barn-like structure near the Southport Railroad Station. The existing station dates to 1914. According to Chief Chris Luciani, the only thing added to the building since then has been a kitchen area. He added that renovation are planned to expand the firehouse to accommodate new, larger fire trucks.
The annual open house has been hosted by the past 20 years, but this year's community gathering suffered a bit of a setback: the firefighter's demonstration of dousing a live fire was "extinguished" by Mother Nature and her rain.