LYNDHURST, N.J. — Students have been crawling through a smoke-filled trailer, watching a teacher hoisted in a bucket ladder and meeting firemen dressed in full gear as part of the Lyndhurst Fire Department’s annual open house.
In conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, the open house runs through Oct. 10.Lyndhurst has participated in the event for more than 40 years.
“We’ve been doing it for so many years that we make a habit to take off work and be here,” said 15-year-old department veteran and former chief Steve Passamano.
“I remember coming through here as a kid and I want to pass on that legacy,” said Passamano, who has spent all his life in Lyndhurst.
A public open house will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Fire Headquarters at 299 Delafield Avenue.Firefighters will demonstrate the Jaws of Life — a hydraulic apparatus used to pry apart the wreckage of crashed vehicles in order to free people trapped inside.
Lyndhurst Fire Chief Paul Haggerty said his department hosts educational demonstrations all week for students up to third grade. Fire trucks are dispatched to daycare centers and pre-K schools, where fireman dress in gear, and hand out booklets, coloring books, plastic firefighter helmets and lollipops.
“It’s a great introduction for kids to firemen,” said Passamano.
This was the first year that Columbus Elementary School was able to attend. A total of 150 youngsters came.
“We want kids to learn and go back home and talk to their parents,” Haggerty said. “Sometimes parents need a reminder.”
Fighting fire is in Haggerty’s blood. His grandfather and father served in Lyndhurst. Now Paul and his younger brother Nick both serve.
Even Paul’s 18-month son, Paul Joseph, was on hand sporting a firefighter shirt during the demonstration.
“You see these kids on the street after the demonstration and they remember you,” Haggerty said. “You see a relationship develop.”
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