HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — What started as traditional holiday decorating, quickly spiraled into a full-fledged friendly competition between two Henrico fire stations.
Stations 9 and 13 took their decorating to the next level. Both groups adorned their buildings with bold light displays, inflatable holiday characters and holiday spirit.
Henrico Fire Department Battalion Chief Doug Reynolds said he is a neutral party in this budding competition.
“Firefighters are naturally competitive,” Chief Reynolds laughed. “So it’s a lot of excitement.”
Last year, members of Stations 9 and 13 essentially switched locations — shuffling personnel and resources. This meant those from Station 13, a station famous for its over-the-top decorations, brought their equipment — and holiday spirit — with them to Station 9.
“Station 13 really was like the leader for Christmas displays,” Reynolds said. “Lots of good holiday lights, so when they came here, they brought that knowledge, spirit, half the supplies over here. Then all of a sudden it became a little competition.”
Both stations began to accumulate large quantities of holiday merchandise and outdoor decorating tools. Members of Henrico’s Fire Department brought in supplies of their own and community members quickly caught on to the excitement.
“There was a rumor the kids at Gayton Elementary put the pressure on Station 13 and said, ‘You’ve got to up that game, get those decorations back and join,'” Reynolds said.
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for fire departments. Rescue teams charge across towns, put out fires, and help out members of the community.
Reynolds described the sense of camaraderie fostered by the competition. He noted how — competition aside — the displays allow both stations to have a welcoming, cozy, festive home base to return to.
“We’re a neighborhood fire department,” Reynolds said. “We live in these neighborhoods, so you know 365, 24 hours a day, we’re here. We want to be a part of the community and more importantly, we want that community to be a part of us.”
For information on how to vote for your favorite display, visit the Henrico County Fire Facebook page.