S.F. hearth stations will mild up once more; vacation ornament contest returns

San Francisco firehouses will mild up once more for the vacations, formally reviving a station ornament custom that began within the Forties, then was introduced again final yr so as to add some pleasure throughout bleak pandemic occasions.

With lower than two weeks’ discover in 2020, 17 stations arrange elaborate decorations, together with a profitable home (Station 38 in Pacific Heights) that produced snow. Fireplace officers hope the competition can be even larger in 2021 — with extra time to arrange and $6,000 in prize cash donated to the charities of alternative divided between the three profitable stations.

“Final yr we introduced this again to offer the neighborhood and our members — your firefighters — with a COVID secure occasion,” stated San Francisco Fireplace Lt. Jonathan Baxter. “It was a hit (and) we’re excited to proceed this occasion to advertise neighborhood solidarity and delight.”

The unique 1948-1950 contest was a preferred occasion, with involvement from The Chronicle, Muni and different metropolis companies. But it surely ended bitterly, after a city-wide measure for firefighter cost-of-living will increase was voted down.

After The Chronicle printed a column final yr documenting the unique contest and suggesting a return, the SFFD rapidly discovered sponsors and stations. The decorations have been elaborate and infrequently themed, with Station 34 within the Richmond District that includes a surfboard and a shark chasing a SCUBA diver.

Station 7, 2300 Folsom St., takes half in San Francisco Fireplace Division vacation adorning contest in San Francisco, Calif., on Sunday, December 20, 2020.

Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

The Chronicle created an interactive information of the collaborating stations in 2020, and plans one other in 2021.

“There are loads of issues about this yr that we by no means need to see once more, however this contest is actually one thing that I hope lives on after this pandemic,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed stated on the time.

Adorning is voluntary. Collaborating stations will end their decorations by Friday, Dec. 17, with every of the division’s 44 stations plus three on the San Francisco Worldwide Airport invited to take part. The Chronicle will announce the winner the next week.

The occasion is sponsored by the Los Bomberos Worker Group.

Judges embrace Los Bomberos, the San Francisco Fireplace Credit score Union, Mission Excessive Faculty’s Fireplace and EMS college students, the Nationwide First Responders Fund employees and a San Francisco Chronicle consultant.

Adam Ferrara, a comic who co-starred on TV’s “Rescue Me,” would be the grand decide. The credit score union is supplying the highest prizes of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, which can go to charities of the profitable stations’ alternative.

The SFFD encourages residents to drive, bike and stroll to collaborating stations, observing all San Francisco COVID-19 practices, and use the hashtag #SFFDHoliday2021 on social media.

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