Between sending crews to fight fires in Santiago Canyon and running regular emergency response services, the reserve firefighters of Emerald Bay managed to build a Halloween haunted house for the community.
With engine crews rotating through 24-hour shifts in Irvine, crews back at the Orange County Fire Authority Station 11 worked double duty. The Halloween project took two weeks. The department was instrumental in holding the line at Santiago School.
“It blows my mind to see guys give so much of themselves,” said firefighter David Skarman.
Station 11 is responsible for protecting the state park surrounding Laguna as well as Emerald Bay. It’s run entirely by reserve firefighters who make sure the station is always staffed, despite their full-time careers.
This was the seventh year the department has constructed the haunted house. Skarman said they started the tradition to give kids an alternative to hitting the streets Halloween night. This year’s haunted house was called The Bay Zoo.
The house is constructed in the upstairs portion of the station, which the department lets the community use as a semi-community center.
It took local children on a journey through a fog-filled maze of cages with scary creatures and offered various fun frights. Blacklights gave an eerie glow as they rigged rubber snakes to dangle from the ceiling. Among the sights was a witch doctor booth with jars of eyeballs and bones for the kids to play with.
Even though they were short-handed, the staff all pitched in when they could to complete the project.
“Somehow it always comes together,” Skarman said.