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Fire district to hold Open House for community

By Staff | Mar 5, 2019

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

The public has an opportunity to check out the fire district’s new boat – and more – tomorrow, March 6.

The Captiva Island Fire Control District is hosting its Annual Open House from noon to 2 p.m. at Station 181, at 14981 Captiva Drive. In addition to the fire and rescue vessel being on display, there will be demonstrations, tours of the facilities, a chance to see the equipment, photo ops and more.

“It’s a time during the year that a majority of the residents are here,” Fire Chief Jeff Pawul said.

“It gives them an opportunity to come by and see the station, see the equipment and talk with the guys,” he added. “It’s time for us to give back to the community for all the support they give.”

A big draw this year will be the recently acquired Metal Shark Boats response vessel.

“We’re going to put that inside the apparatus bay and set it up,” Pawul said, noting that the boat is stored at the South Seas Island Resort marina, so most people do not have the chance to see it.

“Everybody will have an opportunity to see it here,” he added.

There will also be hands-on demos for visitors to try out.

“In the past we’ve done fire extinguisher stuff, where people can play with one if they’ve never used one before,” Pawul said.

A favorite among the younger visitors is getting to use the fire hose. He explained that the district reduces the water pressure down to a child’s level and a staffer will help them point and spray.

“Just fun stuff for the kids to get to do,” Pawul said.

But, the experience would not be complete without the firefighter look.

“We usually set out a clean set or two, or jacket, that the kids can put on,” he said.

Along with the boat, visitors will get to check out the fire engine.

“The kids get to climb on the truck and get inside of it,” Pawul said. “And there’s always pictures.”

Tours of the downstairs facilities will be offered; the living quarters are upstairs and off limits.

“We usually have the plastic (firefighter) helmets and stuff for the kids,” he added.

Last year, approximately 100 people attended.

“We try and get the full staff,” Pawul said.

There will also be fire district T-shirts available for $20 each.

“We started doing it a handful of years ago because of the tourists,” he said, explaining that visitors had family and friends who were firefighters at other departments and they wanted to bring back a shirt.

The funds from the T-shirt sales pay for replacing TVs, grills and such at the district.

“Those non-essential luxury items for our guys,” Pawul said.

Free hamburgers and hotdogs will be served up.

“We’ll usually have waters, a couple different varieties of soda or tea,” he said.

Residents and visitors are welcome to swing by.

“This is our time of the year we try to give back to the public and interact on a non-emergency level,” Pawul said. “It’s a more relaxed setting where we can kind of give back and thank our community.”

For more information, call 239-472-9494.