Fire-safety event draws locals, firefighters and the Phillie Phanatic to East Falls

East Falls’ Ladder 25 fire house hosted a free outdoor event focused on fire prevention and safety late Saturday morning into the afternoon.

Nestled in the closed-off section of Midvale Avenue between Ridge Avenue and Kelly Drive, the branch of the Philadelphia fire department hosted the Phillies Phanatic, a fire prevention smoke trailer and other attractions for the event.

Community outreach

The event, in its inaugural year, was meant to be a community outreach tool said Capt. Chris Beale, who was involved in the planning process.

Homemade signs and balloons advertising the event filled East Falls and directed local residents like Keisha Hankins and her 9-year-old son, Conah, to the event.

Hankins said she knew her son would enjoy it since he is a firefighter-enthusiast who wants to be a volunteer fireman when he is older. As a new resident to the area, she said events like these help the community meet.

“They’re definitely giving back,” she said. “As a social worker myself, that’s one of the things I’m a big fan of.”

Getting ready

Lt. Mike Weigand, who also was involved with planning, said he was glad with how the day turned out and that planning started three months earlier.

“We knew we wanted to do something for the community,” Weigand said, “then it started to snowball from there.”

Weigand said the event was paid for by sponsors and members of the firehouse and some of the attractions were obtained for free. He expressed a desire to hold the event again next year, something residents attending said they would welcome.

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