August 14, 2022

500 Firefighter Fans Show up for Firehouse Breakfast in Essex

Old Glory flying at the Essex firehouse

They came, and came, and came, a happy, celebratory crowd, many with excited children in tow. They came to eat, to look at the fire engines and to enjoy the latest of Essex’s firehouse breakfasts last Sunday (Nov. 20). Pancakes with strips of bacon were among the items on the menu.

But for the young, who wants to eat, when you can climb all over a fire truck? And even pretend you are driving one? And talk with real firefighters?

For some it is not too easy climbing aboard a fire truck

“Pancakes and fire trucks, it’s a perfect combination,” said Mike Delouchry of Ivoryton, who with his wife, Heather, and their two children, Drew and Sara, were out among the fire trucks. “They love it,” their father said.

Five kids in an Essex fire truck

The official host of the bi-annual pancake breakfasts is Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1. The breakfasts, at $5.00 a piece, take in between $1,500 to $2,000 a year, according to Fire Chief Steven Olson. The money raised is used for official fire station purposes. “Its money which would otherwise have to come out of the town budget and from  people’s taxes,” the Chief pointed out.

In addition to raising funds, the breakfasts are designed “to show the community what we are doing,” Chief Olson said. As for training to be a firefighter, he said that each firefighter has to have over 100 hours of training, and that training for a firefighter was on going.

According to the Chief, the Essex Fire Station gets between 800 and 900 calls a year. The calls relate not only to fires, but to accidents, medical emergencies and transporting hazardous materials. “We are the first responders in Essex,” he said.

Essex Fire Chief Steven Olsen

All told, there are 60 firefighters in the Engine Company, and all of them are volunteers. “They range in age from 15 years to 80 in age,” the Chief said.

Meanwhile, the Sunday pancake breakfast was attracting larger and larger numbers number of people, and the floor of the firehouse was getting more and more crowded. Whereas at 8:30 a.m. there had been 147 people who showed up, twenty minutes later there were 230.  Then, by 9:10 a.m. there were 300 pancake eaters on hand. The target goal of 500 in attendance was clearly going to be reached.

Breakfast is served at the Essex firehouse

Tom and Maria Coffrey of Deep River were out among the fire trucks with their sons, Ryan and Dillon. “We come every year. Our two boys love it,” their mother said.

Also, circulating both out among the fire trucks, and inside among the pancake eaters, was “Sparky.” He was a human firefighter dressed up as a big fire dog for the occasion.

Making fiends with Sparky, the firehouse mascot