The Highlands Fire Department has been serving the Highlands community since 1953. The department celebrated the special occasion with an open house on Saturday, Aug. 6. There were free fire truck rides, a free hot dog lunch and a dunking pool for the kids.
The fire trucks with all of the department’s equipment were also out on display. The firemen were also on hand to answer questions about the department and safety issues.
Robbie Forrester has been with the Highlands Fire Department for 16 years. He said that celebrations like the one held Saturday are good ways to raise awareness of the department. “A lot of people don’t know that they can just come and talk to us,” Forrester said. “It is a community thing and it keeps us before the public.”
Donations to help the fire department and the Fireman’s Benevolent Brotherhood Relief Fund were gratefully accepted. The department is also collecting donations to help with the restoration of the department’s first fire truck. After the restoration, the antique truck will then be used for parades, rides and display. Forrester did not have access to the final figures, but he believes that the department raised more than they have in the past couple of years.
“We served about 600 hot dogs, so I would say that there were about 800 to 1,000 people that came out,” he said. There are currently 27 members of the Highlands Fire and Rescue Department, a combination of volunteers and staff. Bob Huston was the Fire Chief from 1976 to 1983. He now works part-time with the department as administrator. Forrester commented that Huston has been working with the department in some fashion for close to 47 years. James Manley is the present Fire Chief at HFR.