Santa Fires Up His Truck

The Westport Fire Department is always busy.

Fighting fires is a small part of their job. They respond to accidents and medical calls all over town, and on I-95 and the Merritt. They conduct safety checks at homes, offices, stores and restaurants. They help mitigate blight situations.

Somehow, Westport firefighters also find time to be Santa Claus.

Since 2014 (except 2020, COVID Christmas) the WFD brings joy to hundreds of children throughout town.

On 6 evenings every December, Santa trades his sleigh for a fire truck. He and his elves deliver gifts to dozens of homes.

Santa popped out of his fire truck, to delight these youngsters (and one oldster).

It’s all for a great cause: raising money for the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation.

SPOILER ALERT: If you’re reading this with a child who believes in Santa Claus, tell him or her to go count the ornaments on the tree, or make fruitcake or something. Keep reading for the back-story details of the Santa Run.

Families register for the event. They have to be quick: This year’s reached capacity in less than 2 hours.

Parents provide and wrap the gifts (small ones). They leave them in a discreet spot — the bushes, in a tree, wherever — for Santa and his firefighter elves to pick up as they walk toward the house.

Over the course of 6 nights they fire up (ho ho ho) the truck, and visit all those homes, between 5 and 8 p.m. They publicize the route, so families can track Santa as he nears their house.

When Santa visited Caccamo Lane last week, 15 children received presents. Ten are shown here. The others were off opening their gifts. (Photo/Susan Ford)

Last week’s count was 72 homes. This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, they’ll hit many, many more.

That’s a ton of kids (and presents). And some nice donations by their parents too ($35 per child) to the Firefighters Charitable Foundation.

The non-profit gives back almost immediately. Among their projects: an annual Santa event at the Senior Center.

Westport’s Department of Human Services invites families in need to the Senior Center. The Big Guy arrives on a fire truck.

He hands out gifts — provided by Saugatuck Financial, which purchases and wraps them — to youngsters. This year’s event was Tuesday afternoon.

But that was not the only engagement on the firefighters’ calendar that day. Earlier in the morning at fire headquarters they sorted, bagged and counted 1,353 winter coats donated by Westporters for the “Share the Warmth” drive.

They — plus many more mittens and hats, totaling nearly a ton in all — were loaded into a trailer, and delivered to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

Westport Fire Department and Bridgeport Rescue Mission officials, at Tuesday’s donation.

Our Fire Department is special. Now everyone — in Westport, Bridgeport and the North Pole — knows why.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Comments are closed.