A caravan of fire engines rolled through Burbank and Glendale on
Thursday, but instead of fighting fires, those on board were on a
mission to raise money for burn victims.
The events were part of a weeklong fund-raiser by Firefighters
Quest for Burn Survivors, a group founded in 1997 after Glendale
Firefighter Bill Jensen and five other firefighters were injured
fighting a blaze in Malibu.
Glendale Fire Department Engineer Tom Propst and others began
raising money to help their families, but Propst said the response
was so successful they continued to raise money for other victims.
Since its inception, Firefighters Quest has raised more than
“When we initiated the program, we did it as a one-time thing, but
support just grew and grew,” he said.
Every year, the caravan moves from department to department
throughout Southern California accepting donations. It has grown from
18 participating departments in its first year to 80 agencies
spanning five counties.
In addition to helping fund actual treatments, Burbank Fire
Engineer Terry Mencuri said Firefighters Quest helps pay for the
long-term costs of recovering from burns which victims and their
families must bear.
“Burns are probably one of the most traumatic things you can go
through emotionally and physically,” Mencuri said.
Thursday was the third day of a five-day journey that Propst
estimated would raise $95,000. As the train of fire vehicles moved
across the area, it was led by an engine from its last stop carrying
longtime supporter and former KABC-TV Channel 7 weather forecaster
Firefighters Quest is operated exclusively by volunteers, and
organizers said all donations go directly to burn victims. Organizers
have donated money to victims from Bakersfield to Orange County, and
even sent funds to victims in Washington, D.C. and New York City
following the 2001 terrorist attacks, Propst said.
Jensen, on-hand for the caravan’s stop at Warner Bros. Ranch, said
it was great to see a program started in part to help him grow to
help so many other people.
“Every burn survivor needs to be treated like everyone else,” he
said. “We’re all human.”