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Building holiday spirit

Jackson Bell

The Media City Center is already transforming into a winter


Off-duty Burbank firefighters got a head start on the holiday


season this year as they assembled a 65-foot metal Christmas tree

Tuesday and Wednesday morning in the IKEA Courtyard.

The tree, at the corner of San Fernando Boulevard and Cypress

Avenue, is adorned with multicolor ornaments and a large star on top.


Its lights will be turned on Nov. 26 in conjunction with the Santa

Arrival Parade heading down North San Fernando Boulevard and ending

at IKEA.

The 13th annual event is a fund-raising tradition in which the

Media City Center pays the firefight- ers’ union, Local 778, $2,500

to construct the tree. In turn, the union donates the money to a

local charity.

“It’s been a great thing for us over the years,” said Burbank Fire


Capt. Lew Stone, who spearheaded the project. “It allows the Media

City Center to get the tree up and for us to distribute money to a

good cause.”

This year’s recipient of the donation will be decided at the union

meeting next week, said Stone, also president of the firefighters’


Past organizations that have received proceeds are the Burbank

Temporary Aid Center, Salvation Army Burbank Corps and 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.

“We basically think it is a great community partnership,” said

Brian Gartland, the mall’s senior marketing director.