Fire trucks, a smoke trailer, a car that got cut up with the jaws of life, bikes and a tank with windows and filled with water with all major attractions Saturday at Fire Station 8 on Post Road next to Ann & Hope. The icing to the open house that is all part of Fire Safety Month was the pizza and the ice cream.
But it was Millie, no more than six months old, who stole the show.
Millie is a Saint Bernard, a lovable giant that at 90 pounds was the “must pet” attraction of the day. She rolled on her back to have her soft tummy rubbed and with one lick she was there to clean up any ice cream that might have slipped from a child’s hand. She was good at cleaning up sticky hands, too. Millie isn’t the department’s mascot although it wouldn’t be surprising to find her at more department events.
Chief Peter McMichael said he had reservations, but his wife, Colleen, and daughter, Margaret, convinced him they should get the dog. Now that she’s part of the family, he’s as smitten as they are.
The open house, jointly sponsored by the department and the union, attracted an estimated 400 to 500 people.
McMichael said he was especially touched by the people who thanked him for the sensory portion of the program that was held first thing in the morning. McMichael credited Chief Jason Umbenhauer for thinking of making provisions for children and persons afflicted with sensory processing difficulties that was promoted by the Autism Project of Rhode Island.
“It really struck home,” McMichael said of those people who told him, “now we can come [to the open house].”
(Beacon photos and text by John Howell)