NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) – There was a lot on display at the New Haven Fire Muster and Expo. Hundreds of people were taking it all in, and said firefighters are their heroes. So, they were thrilled to be a part of the inaugural event.
“[My son] has a lot of firetrucks at home, and construction trucks,” one attendee said. “Whatever is big and makes noise.”
“I love firetrucks,” one young boy said. Hoses are his favorite part.
There are people who love firetrucks, but everyone who attended the Fire Muster loves firefighters.
“My dad served for 30 years on the Chicago Fire Department,” Karen Kruse said.
“When I grow up I want to work in a fire station too,” Juan Pablo Wiggins said.
Parades, competitions, shopping, safety lessons and history packed Broadway Street in New Haven Saturday. Recently retired firefighter Patrick Holohan now works full time with his other passion- collecting historic fire memorabilia.
“I have a lantern from Atlanta Fire Department’s first hand-pulled latter unit from 1858,” he said.
Holohan traveled from Illinois to be in New Haven, but anywhere in the world he goes he finds collectors like himself.
“It’s just old and historical,” Holohan said when asked why people love collecting this memorabilia.
“I emphatically say firefighters should be thanked and appreciated every single day,” Kruse said.
Kruse also traveled from Illinois. She wrote a book about her dad’s firehouse which was right across from Wrigley Field in Chicago.
“It’s not only a tribute to my dad, which is was meant to be, but it really honors firefighters everywhere,” Kruse said.
On the opposite end of Broadway, participants were seeing what it’s really like suiting up to go fight a fire. There was a competition to see who could put on the gear the fastest.
Juan Pablo Wiggins knows how important firefighters’ roles are. He was saved from a fire when he was just a baby. Now, he uses his scars for good.
“I went through a lot so when I see someone who is sad I try to help them,” Wiggins said.
There’s always a reason to thank a firefighter.