PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 9, 2013

Fire safety made fun in Groves

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

GROVES — Nevaeh Granger was all smiles as she was buckled in to a stretcher and placed inside an Acadian Ambulance on Wednesday.

Emergency lights flashed brightly from an adjacent Groves Police vehicle and children stopped to get an up close look at a fire truck nearby.

The scene was not chaotic and tragic — it was all part of Groves Fire Department’s Annual Open House. The event is part of National Fire Prevention Week.

“It was awesome,” Granger, 8, a third grader at Van Buren Elementary School, said with a laugh after joining her mother, Misty Badon, sister Layla Granger, 5, and cousin Boston Nevils, 2.

Badon said firefighters had visited the children’s school on Wednesday for a special program. The mother was very pleased with the open house.

Out in front of the fire station volunteer firefighter Brandon Austin helped Alannah Chatham, 8, hold a fire hose that was pointed at a children’s play house across the street. Her mother, Heidi Bertrand and brother, Malakai Chatham, 10, joined her afterwards to check out other hands-on activities at the fire station.

“This is wonderful. It shows kids in the community about fire safety and who to trust,” Bertrand, of Groves, said. “I think we should have more events like this.”

Alannah Chatham, who was wearing a crown and sash, holds the title of 2013 Harris County Little Miss Heart of USA. The pageant focuses on teaching girls the importance of giving back to the community, according to its website, and that’s how the family ended up at the fire station, the mother said.

“We’re out doing random acts of kindness,” Bertrand said. “We brought the firefighters a red velvet cake and peanut butter cheese crackers and brought some Gatorade to the police station.”

Families and children arrived early for the yearly event which featured displays of fire fighting equipment, a smoke house from Bridge City Fire Department and representatives of fire departments in Port Neches and Nederland as well.

“We always have a good response from the community,” Groves Fire Chief Dale Jackson said. “We were out this week in the schools. The firefighter was wearing full bunker gear, mask and all, and told the kids that if there is a problem that this is what we’ll look like.”

The National Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 6 through Oct. 12.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews