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Lil’ Squirt to help fight fires

Jackson Bell

More than two decades after the idea for a Burbank Fire Department

mascot was conceived, “Lil’ Squirt” made its debut this week.

Fire Chief Mike Davis introduced the mascot, a baby elephant drawn


up by Disney animators and then brought to life through costume, at

Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The idea for the mascot started about 20 years ago when the

department asked Disney Studios to produce an animated video to


promote fire safety to children, Davis said.

But since the cost exceeded the department’s budget allotment, the

studio gave the rights to a drawing of Lil’ Squirt to the department,

which used it as a logo on educational posters, handouts and slides

projected before movies at local theaters.

“We felt it was now time to utilize this educational tool to the

fullest extent by bringing the lines on paper to life,” Davis said

during the council meeting.


So Custom Characters in Glendale was hired to create the

department’s first mascot, which is dressed in a fire helmet and

turnouts -- the pants, boots and jackets worn by firefighters.

“‘He is intended to be used as a liaison between us and the

schools,” Capt. Ron Bell said. “Kids will love him.”

Bell also said he kept the mascot a secret from most of the

firefighters in the department, including Davis, before the meeting.

“He was totally surprised to see a 7-foot-tall elephant walk in


the room,” Bell said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Lil’ Squirt, flanked by Davis, Bell and

Fire Marshal Dave Starr, recognized the graduates of the 2003

Regional Occupation Program, which teaches local high school students

about careers in fire service.