Mattapoisett firefighters connect with community at annual open house

Oct 14, 2022

MATTAPOISETT — The Mattapoisett Fire Department opened its doors on Thursday, Oct. 13 so that children, parents and the curious public could learn more about what goes on inside the station. 

During the department’s annual open house children clambered on antique fire trucks, met “Sparky the Fire Dog,” and enjoyed a meal of hotdogs, pizza and other snacks.  

Meanwhile, adults learned about fire prevention from firefighters handing out informational pamphlets.  

According to Mattapoisett Fire Chief Andrew Murray, open house nights are a good way to “reach out to the public and educate them on fire safety.”

Outside the station, kids learned how to use a fire extinguisher — even getting a chance to use it to put out a controlled fire. 

“I thought it was easy and fun,” said nine-year-old James Sheehan, who tried his hand at putting out a fire. “But in real life I think it would be harder.”

Murray added that the open house is “a good opportunity to show off the equipment that we have and our amazing staff.”

Firefighters gave a demonstration of the “Jaws of Life,” a hydraulic rescue tool used to remove doors from vehicles in emergency situations. In a matter of minutes they disassembled a small car while a crowd looked on. 

Inside the station, firefighter Brian Connolly showed children how to put on the face masks and oxygen tanks that firefighters use on the job. 

Nine-year-old Jillian Bonnell tried on the fire fighting gear and said that it was “heavy on my face.”

Kids also got to meet Hero and Jack, two comfort dogs from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office. The Mattapoisett Fire Department worked with the Friends of Jack Foundation, a Mattapoisett-based charity organization, to bring the dogs to the station. 

According to firefighter Chapman Dickerson, who is also the CEO of Bask Cannabis in Fairhaven, open house nights help to build a connection between firefighters and the people they protect.

“With stuff like this, there’s kind of a bond — especially in a small town,” said Dickerson, who added “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a firefighter.”