Learning at the Firehouse in Arlington

Learning at the Firehouse in Arlington

Public gets look inside the life of their local firefighters.

Firefighter Ted Schweitzer (left) and Elias Tapp.

Firefighter Ted Schweitzer (left) and Elias Tapp. Photo by Vernon Miles.


Station Commander Jose Ortiz


Jacob Cohen (top) with his daughter Maya Cohen at the Fire Station 10 open house.

Fire trucks can be a bit of a double-edged sword for Elias Tapp. Like a lot of children, Elias Tapp loves fire trucks, but he’s scared of the loud noises and the sirens as the trucks roar down the county streets. So Justin Tapp said when he and his son were walking by and saw that Fire Station 10 was open, they immediately turned to go inside.

“He loves all of it,” Justin Tapp said. “It’s so good to show him the station. It helps him be less afraid when he hears the sirens.”

On Saturday, Oct. 14, fire stations across Arlington County opened their doors to the public to give citizens a look inside the station at what life is like for their local firefighters and to learn more about fire prevention techniques. Parents and children both got to sit in the driver’s seat of fire trucks and try out some of the equipment around the station.

“My daughter really enjoyed sitting in the truck,” said Miriam Brohn. “Kids are fascinated with fire trucks. It’s good to make it more real for them and to let them see and feel it.”

This year, the theme of the fire station’s open day was on reinforcing the need for everyone in a family to spot the two exits to any location they are in, whether it’s home or out at a restaurant or movie theater. Jose Ortiz, commander of Fire Station 10, said the open houses also give the local fire departments a chance to educate the public about their non-emergency roles, like home and smoke inspections to help make sure everything is safe and working.

Ortiz has been a firefighter in Arlington County for 26 years. He says his favorite thing about the job is that every day is something new. Some days they spend it mostly cleaning, cooking and training. Some days it’s calls out to accidents or help for someone that’s sick.

“It’s something different every day,” said Ortiz. “You’re never bored. There’s always something new. There’s always a challenge, and it helps you grow as a person. At the end of the day, you helped change someone’s life.”

For Ortiz and the other firefighters of Station 10, this will be their last open house in the current facility. In early 2018, Station 10 will move their main truck and ambulance into a nearby temporary fire station it will share with H-B Woodlawn and Stratford schools. The rescue trailer will be moved to Fire Station 1. In Fall 2020 or 2021, Station 10 will be moved once again into its new, permanent home in West Rosslyn.