Kids tour Fire Station 1

Five-year-old Zoe Edelman grabbed onto a fire hose Saturday and cranked the handle backward to let water blast from the nozzle.

She and a few dozen other children were getting a taste of what it would be like to become a firefighter when they grow up.

They took turns shooting water into the driveway, with firefighter Tyler Swets helping them, of course.

Swets was one of the crew at Fire Station 1 in downtown Laguna Beach giving the kids a tour.

Inside, Capt. John Kuzmic asked a group of kindergarten-age kids, "Who knows who to call when there's an emergency?"

He was met with a chorus of "911."

Reserve firefighter Blake Finnila donned full fire gear and started giving a round of high-fives to the kids seated on the ground while Kuzmic demonstrated a stop, drop and roll with a few tiny helpers.

The tykes had a few things to say to Kuzmic when he asked if there was anything else they wanted to know — things like, "I've never had a fire in my whole house," and "I saw a car on fire."

The children were on the tour that day to whet their appetite for a book reading.

After spraying the hose and meeting "Sparky the Fire Dog," they heard readings from the book, "When I Grow Up I Want To Be … a Firefighter!"

The book is the latest in about half a dozen published by Laguna Beach resident Barron Ressler and his team. The books in the "When I Grow Up I Want To Be..." series all focus on a different profession from teacher to U.S. Army soldier.

"All these kids have dreams," Ressler said, looking around the fire station.

His team's books, he said, are meant to help kids bridge that gap from dream to reality by telling a story and sprinkling in facts and information about each profession.

Before hearing from the book, 4-year-old Marta Essen-Conti had already decided what the best part of her day was: watching firefighters slide down the station's pole.

Does she want to become a firefighter and join them?

"Maybe," she said.

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