Mt. Vernon: Red-Hot Brownies Fight Fire

Mt. Vernon: Red-Hot Brownies Fight Fire

Fire station praises troop’s teamwork.

— Preparing to conclude their first camping trip on Solomon’s Island, third graders Anna Foote and Logan Jackson of Brownie Troop 1157 decided to check the campground to see if they had left any items behind. What they found instead were crimson embers and budding flames in an unattended fire pit at the evacuated neighboring campsite. The two girls sprinted through the campground’s dense forest to notify troop leaders. Using an assembly line method, each Brownie took turns picking apart the sizzling pit and drowned the red-hot embers in water to ensure the fire wouldn’t rekindle.

On Friday, June 19, the Mount Vernon Fire Department wanted to recognize Troop 1157 for their teamwork and bravery, and to discuss the methods of fire safety the Brownie troop utilized. Natalie Himel recalled in a flurry, “We had to get water and get to the ember right away.” Anna Foote said that the troop, “… each took turns with the sprinkler can.” Allison Ary added that, “We’d poke at the fire with a bamboo stick.” Abby LaFleur said, “Some fire was under the wood, so we had to move the wood [with the bamboo stick] to get the fire out.”

When asked if the girls were following a specific Brownie code of conduct, Monica Rusten, who was the designated “fire patrol” leader during the trip remembered to follow one single rule, “You can only be in the fire circle if you ask to be in the fire circle.” Coordination and teamwork were key factors in helping the Brownies triumph over the potential threat. When asked if the girls were nervous about confronting the fire, Troop 1157 answered with a resounding, “No.”

The troop gathered in front of Firefighter Daniel Donato in the garage of the Mount Vernon Fire Station, to learn about what it means to be a firefighter in their hometown. Donato set the tone for the visit as he swung up on the side of the fire truck, flipped a latch and revealed the ax kept beneath the engine’s outer shell—“The ax,” he said, “is used for a fighter fighter’s favorite activity — breaking things.”

The girls realized that they have big shoes to fill, as they took turns trying on Donato’s heavy flameproof suit. Afterwards, they were led through the back door of the ambulance and out its front passenger door — 15 minutes before the vehicle raced out of the garage.

For the main event, the girls were able to experience what it's like to put out a fire on a larger scale, and all hands helped attach a distended fire hose to a hydrant out back. The girls stood in a line with both arms supporting the tube, directing its heavy stream into the air. The backsplash of the falling water combined with the thick summer heat gave firefighter Donato and two other firemen an idea as they took their turn behind the hose. The girls howled as they were drenched, twisting in and out of the water funnel behind a cloud of street steam and glittering mist.

At the end of the visit, Donato gathered the pack of dripping, smiling faces for a simple and sincere recognition, “Thank you guys for being so brave.”