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Behind the Mask: Historical Museum presents the story of the Cape Coral Fire Department

By Staff | Jun 25, 2020

Behind every surface is a deeper story.

As part of the City of Cape Coral’s 50th Anniversary celebration, the Cape Coral Historical Museum will delve into the history and some of the behind-the-scenes stories of their first responders.

The museum will create three special exhibits in the coming months, beginning this Friday with the opening of a retrospective detailing the Cape Coral Fire Department.

These new exhibits, titled, “Behind the Mask: Cape Coral Heroes” is a way for residents to get up close and personal with the history of the city and those that respond in emergency situations. The museum will also highlight the police department and health care workers in future exhibits.

“We thought this would be a great opportunity to not only celebrate our own anniversary, but to be able to give back and honor these folks who are doing so much for us,” said Cape Coral Historical Museum Executive Director Janel Trull.

Exhibitors will find relics, photographs, uniforms, equipment and documentation from the origination of the fire department 50-plus years ago when it started as an all-volunteer group to present day.

Stories of firefighters who have nearly seen it all through decades of service will be depicted, including the plight of one Cape firefighter who was diagnosed with cancer who raised money for local children battling the same illness.

The exhibit will feature items from the museum’s collection, as well as items loaned by local families with ties to the department.

“This gives us an opportunity to really delve into the history of the fire department and to expand upon and tell more personal stories from the firefighters themselves,” Trull said.

Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello said it’s amazing to think of where the city came from and where it is today.

“It’s amazing to think that we started with two full- time firefighters only 50 years ago and today we have somewhere close to 243,” Coviello said. “The story of how the department began as an all-volunteer group with each residence contributing $10 toward a building shows how the pioneer families really built this city. Fire Departments always show a generous spirit and kind hearts, no matter where they are located and our firefighters are no exception. We have one of, if not the finest fire department in the state of Florida.

“I think it’s interesting and important for our residents to understand the very humble beginning of Cape Coral Fire Department. The fact that each residence helped fund the first firehouse and department is so very Cape Coral. I think residents will find it heartwarming.”

Cape Coral Fire Department Chief Ryan Lamb said he and his staff are proud to serve the community and is proud to see the department’s history be displayed.

“It is important to honor our history and acknowledge where we came from so that we can continue to better serve now and in the future,” Lamb said. “We are very appreciative of the Cape Coral Historical Society Museum’s special exhibit that will recount the history Fire Department and its role within the City through its incorporation and continued rapid growth.”

Visitors will be able to see the growth of not just the city, but also the department over time.

“Our 50th Anniversary Celebration is a time to learn more of the history of our great city,” Coviello said.” It’s an opportunity for all of us to learn from the pioneer residents still living and working in Cape Coral and it’s a great chance to appreciate how far we’ve come in a relatively short time. It’s also a great time to envision where we might go during our next 50 years.”

The exhibit will run from today, Friday, June 26, to Aug. 22.

Museum admission is $5 for adults and free for children (17 and under) and students with an ID.

The museum asks guests call and set up their tour in advance. Tour groups may not exceed eight people.

The Cape Coral Historical Museum is at 544 Cultural Park Blvd.

For more information and to book a tour, visit www.capecoralhistoricalmuseum.org or call 239-772-7037

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