SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. Smoke billowed out of the second floor of the Beekman Avenue Firehouse on Sunday. Firefighters gathered below to prepare themselves for entry up a ladder and through a window.
The smoke continued to build as they entered. A whistle sounded from the fire truck parked besides the building: there was trouble inside. Firefighters began to leave the building through a second window, hanging on by bail-out ropes and scaling down the wall to safety.
Luckily for the Sleepy Hollow Fire Department, Sunday's exercise was just smoke and mirrors as firefighters demonstrated how they respond when things get too bad inside a fire for the first annual Open House.
Fire Chief John Korzelius narrated the demonstration, which was one of several that took place on Sunday morning and afternoon. The Open House is part of many activities the SHFD is doing for Fire Prevention Awareness Week.
It was an idea dreamed up by Asst. Chief Patrick Haggerty and Capt. Christopher Scelza, Korzelius said. They thought it'd be nice to have an open house, give a demonstration and let the people know what we do and where their tax dollars are going.
Local residents flocked to the event, drawn in by the fire trucks that had been brought out for display in front of Village Hall. Beekman Avenue was shut down from Broadway to Lawrence Avenue for the occasion.
Kids ate hot dogs provided by the SHFD and even got to test drive some of the fire trucks.
In addition to the many technical demonstrations by the fire department, the Sleepy Hollow Police Department brought out its K-9 unit to the delight of the crowd.
The SHFD also got two volunteers to demonstrate the proper way to use a fire extinguisher. Korzelius offered fire prevention tips to the crowd and acted as the event's emcee.
It's very expensive to run a fire department, Korzelius said. Volunteers are very cheap, but the equipment's expensive. So we want to let the people know where the money's going and what we're capable of.
Korzelius said the department provides all the training and equipment for volunteers. He added that not every volunteer goes into burning buildings, saying We have other jobs that people can do, such as driving.
It's a nice thing to do for your community, he said.
For more information on the Sleepy Hollow Fire Department and how to volunteer, visit www.sleepyhollowfd.org .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.