On Jan. 25th, the Newbury Fire Department, along with Historic New England and Tendercrop Farm are hosting the 4th Annual Old Newbury Bonfire fundraiser at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm. In addition to the bonfire, there will be music, games, tours, crafts, and food. There will also be an auction to raise funds for a new ambulance — one pretty spectacular prize includes a ride to school in a fire truck! Other prizes include a handmade bench made from authentic fire hose, and a gift certificate toward a portrait session with ABBphoto.
Earlier this week a friend who is helping to organize the bonfire event asked if I would go to the Newbury Fire Department to capture some images of the station. I was immediately intrigued by the opportunity to take photos inside a fire house. And, let me tell you, the experience did not disappoint. I became pretty fascinated by certain details. First, it was the fire helmets. Almost all of them were topped with a brass eagle ornament, whose function seems to be to help secure the ID plate to the front of the helmet. Not sure why, but this detail — which I had never noticed before — captivated me.
Like I said, most were eagles — but I also found one beaver ornament. One of the firemen on duty said the beaver is often used by Canadian firefighters, and explained that it is chosen as a symbol of teamwork.
Along with the helmets, I was intrigued by all the lined-up collections of turnout gear. My friend noticed how the gear was sometimes reflected in the shiny, red exterior of the trucks. There was something very moving about these lines of gear just waiting for people. They started looking like memorials to teams lost.
We poked around, climbed into cabs and scrambled up onto the trucks — with permission of course — and as time passed, I was struck by how little I know about how fire departments run, or what the day-to-day reality of first responders must be like. We put so much faith in the men and women who put out fires and protect our safety, and yet I think many of us forget the real human cost of doing these jobs.
I will be sure to blog about the bonfire event, but in the meantime I’m going to see if I can get one of the firemen to guest blog this post. I’ll leave my description in place, but I think it would be interesting and meaningful to hear from someone who could shed some relevant information on the things captured in these images. Happy Friday, all. And hopefully I will see you at the bonfire.