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Rutland City firefighters to take part in Storytime

Story by Keith Whitcomb Jr. Staff Writer | Originally published in the Rutland Herald | July 11, 2019

Fans of firefighters and children’s books will get a mix of both Friday at Phoenix Books.

This year’s Friday Night Live Storytime will feature members of the Rutland City Fire Department reading from their favorite children’s books.

“I think it’s important we participate in community events,” City Fire Chief Jim Larsen said Thursday. “Tomorrow night will be an event with a lot of people.”

Storytime at the bookstore begins at 6 p.m. Friday Night Live is a larger event put on by the Downtown Rutland Partnership that will see Center Street closed off from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. that will feature live music, food vendors, games, and other attractions.

Larsen said the fire department tries to make its members available for community events on a monthly basis, though sometimes the firefighters it sends have to respond to emergencies.

The department uses these appearances as opportunities to teach fire safety practices to both children and adults. Friday’s event will be a good venue for this, he said, adding that the department will try to attend any event it’s invited to.

He said Phoenix Books Rutland Store Manager Will Notte asked the department to come to Storytime this year.

Notte said Thursday he got the idea to do this last year, and began it with Rutland City Police.

He said it’s expected that three firefighters will participate. Three seems to be the ideal number for Storytime event readers, he said. Firefighters can read from their personal favorite book, but in case they don’t have one, he’s selected some firefighter-themed stories for them to go with. Among them is “The Fire Cat” by Esther Averill, published in 1960.

“It’s a classic book that was a no-brainer to be included,” said Notte.

He said he tries to make sure children are exposed to classic books like “The Fire Cat” through the Storytime events.

Notte said he’s not sure yet who’ll be invited to Friday Night Storytime next year. He’s considered military personnel and others, and is open to suggestions.