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Santa’s Helper Is Set For Saturday, Dec. 15. Do You Want In?

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Nov 182018
 

Longtime Orange residents, can you believe it? Santa’s Helper is celebrating its 24th year of delivering gifts, smiles, and fun to hundreds of families in town.

Elf Mama was a young lass when she began organizing the popular fundraiser for the Orange Volunteer Fire Department back in 1994. Now, she’s a bit older (1,027 in Elf Years) and wiser (she’s seen it all, and dealt with it) and she’s still just as spry and enthusiastic about getting the elves and firefighter helpers together for the big day.

For the first time in 24 years, there are still a few slots open in which your family can share in the magic. Don’t let this rare opportunity pass you by. Send an e-mail to Elf Mama at ofdsantashelper@aol.com as soon as possible to be added to the list and to get directions for dropping off your gifts. DO NOT call the Fire Department about Santa’s Helper.

Santa is practicing his “Ho, Ho, Ho” and the elves and helpers are getting the fire trucks ready to go! Don’t make alternate plans for Saturday, Dec. 15, because Santa gets very sad when families aren’t home when he and the firefighters arrive. The start time for Santa’s Helper delivery day is 3 p.m.

Background

A file photo from a previous Santa’s Helper visit. Little Cindy Lou Who is probably 13 years old now.

Elf Mama tells it like this — as many know, Santa’s Helper is a wonderful, exciting, fun and memorable fund-raising event with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting your Orange Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of firefighting and rescue equipment.

“Each year, every one of our 6 Santa’s Helper Teams of Santa, Elves and firefighter helpers are excited to visit and deliver gifts, share in some fun, take photos and help make lasting memories and traditions for every family. Children and adults alike look forward with excited anticipation to seeing the fire trucks with lights and sirens coming down their street to their front door, with Santa leading the way!  His truck full of gifts, his helpers and Elves coming in to visit with each family,” said Elf Mama.

WE WANT EVERYONE TO HAVE A CHANCE TO JOIN IN ON THE FUN, IT’S EASY!

GIFT RULES AND INFORMATION:  There is a small fee of $19.00 per gift/per household.  Each gift must be INDIVIDUALLY wrapped in your favorite holiday paper with an overwrap of plain brown paper.  The name and delivery address of the recipient must be clearly printed on the outside of each gift.  PLEASE try not to make the gift too large or too heavy, Santa appreciates that.  We do have a limit of 170 delivery spots/visits available.  We encourage you to try to have all the gifts for your visit with you on Gift Drop-Off day. (For families with a large party and many gifts, please e-mail Anne at ofdsantashelper@aol.com for special instructions. If there will be multiple families having their visit at one specific address, please let the Elf helpers know that upon sign-up on drop-off day.

Delivery Day

ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2018, SANTA on his firetruck with his Elf and Firefighter helpers will arrive at your home to deliver the gifts to your loved ones and spend a few moments with your family and friends for photos and fun!

If you have any questions, e-mail Anne at ofdsantashelper@aol.com she will be happy to help you via e-mail.  Please do not call the Fire Stations as it’s a Volunteer Fire Department and there will not be anyone there to assist you with Santa’s Helper information.

NOTE: *E-mailing Santa’s Helper does not guarantee you a spot on the delivery route.  Sign-up is on Gift Drop-Off day and it is on a first come-first serve basis.

THE ORANGE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT FAMILY WISHES EVERYONE A SAFE, HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

If you’ve never participated in Santa’s Helper, this is a great time to start a new tradition in your family, and you will be helping the all-volunteer fire department at the same time. Don’t miss out!

Below, a collage of one of the Santa’s Helper families in Orange that grew up with the program. The adults were children two decades ago, and the children are theirs. 

Car Fire on Great Oak

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Apr 062018
 

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department responded to a report of a car fire on Great Oak Road around 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.

A resident shot this photo as she passed the scene.

Update: TGI Fridays Damaged But Not A Total Loss

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Oct 222017
 

The fire that forced the evacuation of customers and staff at TGI Fridays on Saturday night is being blamed on equipment failure, specifically an exhaust hood in the kitchen, according to Fire Marshal Tim Smith.

Smith broke the evening’s event down like this:

TGI Fridays Restaurant has a drop ceiling and is required by law to have a sprinkler system.

Around 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 21 while bar customers were watching the Major League baseball games and others were having a meal in the dining room an alarm went off, alerting the Orange Volunteer Fire Department of a problem.

The manager and staff immediately got busy and made sure everyone was safely evacuated from the building.

The firefighters assembled at their respective firehouses and arrived at the restaurant within about 6 minutes.

The fire was contained to the drop ceiling and roof portion of the building and a sprinkler head activated, holding the fire in check.

The flames began to burn a section of the roof above the kitchen and firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof to get access to and extinguish the fire.

Restaurant Employees sat on the guardrail near the Boston Post Road and First Selectman Jim Zeoli viewed the scene while speaking to residents and crew members near Station 2.

Orange and Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Departments and West Haven’s West Shore had firefighters and equipment at the fire. Milford FD provided coverage for the town until the OVFD cleared the scene.

Smith said the building sustained smoke and water damage, but there was no fire within the main floor of the restaurant. “Just the kitchen to the roof, it’s damaged but not a total loss,” Smith said.

With his investigation completed, Smith turned the building over to the restaurant owners so they can begin their renovations.

TGI Fridays will be closed for a while, but at this point, no one can say just how long.

 

Orange Community Women Donate Funds To The Volunteer Fire Department

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Sep 052017
 

Fire Chief John Knight and Volunteer Firefighter Lisa Kaplan with members of the Orange Community Women.

Orange Community Women (OCW) recently presented the Orange Volunteer Fire Department (OVFD) with a $200 check from the money earned from community activities during the past club year.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department is 92 years old and volunteer run with 60 active members.  Chartered to provide fire service for the Town of Orange, they also own and maintain the trucks as well as maintain the fire houses.

The OVFD is in the process of purchasing a new truck that will be used for protection of life and property in the town of Orange. The new fire truck will cost about $850K, without all the necessary equipment.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department appreciates all donations as they can apply the money where the need arises.  For example, full gear with tanks and masks costs several thousand dollars for each firefighter.

When a call comes into the police station, our volunteer firefighters hit the ground running.

Orange Community Women is a chapter of Connecticut Junior Women, Inc. and seeks to unite the women of Orange and surrounding areas by participating in community service and providing enrichment, leadership and social interaction. 

OCW hosts various activities throughout the year and the proceeds are returned to the Orange community. 

This Fall, OCW is coordinating a Children’s Fair Fact Scavenger hunt at the Orange Country Fair to help promote all of the fun activities at the fair.  In October, they will have a Saver’s Fundraiser to turn community donations back into cash for the community. 

Also in October, OCW will present a “ Women & War “ lecture from Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame “Talks on the Road” series at the Case Memorial Library.  Check back here soon for further information.

OCW meets at the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road, at 7 p.m. on the 4th Wednesday of the month and new members are always welcome.  For information about joining OCW, please contact Donna Wesolowski at donnaweso@optimum.net.

About Your Carnival Wristbands

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Aug 022017
 

The forecast shows a chance of a couple of pop-up showers on Thursday and Friday, but, as always the Orange Volunteer Firemen’s Carnival will go on as planned.

That said, if you have purchased your discount priced ride bracelets online, when you arrive at the fairgrounds, go directly to the rear of the raffle tent (across from the pavilion ‘Main Food Tent’) to pick up your wristbands, and have your ID ready.

You may use your wristbands at any one of the following time periods:

  1. Thursday, Aug. 3, 5 to 11 p.m.
  2. Friday, Aug. 4, 5 p.m. to midnight
  3. Saturday, Aug. 5, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
  4. Saturday, Aug. 5, 5 p.m. to midnight
  5. Sunday, Aug. 6, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Remember, children must be at least 3-feet tall to ride any ride. 

You can still buy regular priced tickets at the carnival.

Bought in advance, the cost of wristbands for adults and/or children are: 1 – $28, 2 – $50 (save $6), 3 – $75 (save $9), 4 – $100 (save $12), 5 – $125 (save $15), 6 – $150 (Save $18), 7 – $175 (save $21), 8 – $200 (save $24), 9 – $225 (save $27).

Route 15 Accident in Orange Backs Up Rush Hour Traffic

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May 022017
 

State Police and the Orange Volunteer Fire Department responded to an accident on the Northbound side of the Wilbur Cross Parkway near the Route 34 exit today around 5:30 p.m.

A passing Orange Live reader snapped a photo of this car on its side.

Traffic was backed up to Milford, and the Sikorsky Bridge while crews worked on the scene.

We have no information about the cause of the accident, or if any injuries were reported.

Orange Live will update this story when we can.

Orange Volunteer Fire Department Celebrates Volunteer Firefighter Day

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Apr 222017
 

Rescue 1 outside of Station 2

On Sunday, April 23,  60 volunteer fire departments throughout the state will celebrate the start of National Volunteer Week (April 23-29, 2017) by holding open houses. Orange Volunteer Fire Department will be participating in this special event by opening the doors to its Station 2 fire house located at 355 Boston Post Road from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Visitors will be able to talk with volunteer firefighters about the work they do, explore fire apparatus and turnout gear, get a tour of the fire house, and fill out an application. For more information, visit www.OrangeVFD.com or find the Department on Facebook at OrangeVolunteerFireDepartment.

More than eighty percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers, and the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage. Local fire departments need volunteers of all skill levels and abilities, people willing and able to respond to emergencies whenever called upon.

Volunteer Firefighter Day is part of Everyday Hero CT, a program dedicated to increasing the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state. A partnership of the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Everyday Hero CT campaign is a two-year Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) initiative designed to address the shortage of volunteer firefighters in Connecticut. It is helping achieve a viable and sustainable volunteer firefighter workforce for fire departments throughout Connecticut. Everyday Hero CT is funded by a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awarded to the CFCA by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a model to enhance the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.

The Magic Of Growing Up With Santa’s Helper (with Video)

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Dec 182016
 

img_2289The Orange Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary has run its Santa’s Helper program for 22 years.

Aside from the Carnival, Santa’s Helper is the department’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

If you didn’t know, Santa’s Helper takes place each year on a weekend day, one week before Christmas. The Orange Volunteer firefighters help Santa deliver gifts to kids in participating families. Santa arrives on a fire truck with lights and sirens right to your home and Santa, and elf or two and firefighters come into your home to spend a few moments or more with the kids.

growing-up-with-santa-2016In some cases, Santa has been coming to the same homes for 20 years or longer. Boys and girls who were drinking juice from a bottle or sippy cup, are now drinking Corona from a bottle or sipping from a glass of wine when Santa arrives.

At one house, the kids, most that are now adults, sit in the living room and wait for the jolly old elf while the adults gather in the kitchen, dining room and other areas of the home and peek in to watch the fun.

Once Santa is settled into his comfy chair, the “kids” start singing a Christmas carol as they have for nearly two decades.

One by one Santa hands out all the presents — about 23 of them this year — and EVERYONE has to sit on Santa’s lap, even the 6-foot tall, 200 pound muscle man (And They Do!)

One rule is that no one is allowed to open their gift (not even the toddlers) until everyone in the room has one. Then the place explodes with wrapping paper.

The party host brings Santa a cup of soda with a Krazy Straw, and the kids sing another carol for him, before everyone gathers in front of the Christmas Tree for a group photo.

Santa said he treasures this kind of long-term relationship. “It’s great seeing them grow up and eventually have children of their own. I look forward to hearing my song every year and catching up with everyone,” Santa told Orange Live. “This is the best part of Santa’s Helper and I thank the Orange Firemen for offering me a ride and hanging out with me for this event which is as special to me as it is to the families I visit.”

 

Orange Firefighters Free Toddler From Storm Drain

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Jun 252016
 

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 6.13.38 PMAround 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon Orange Volunteer Firefighters were called to Robert Treat Drive to help free a 3-year-old whose leg was stuck in a storm drain grate.

Police and Medic 33 were on scene and could not free the child, due to swelling, so they summoned firefighters hoping they may have a tool that would be able to cut the steel grate.

Within a few seconds of their arrival, the child was free.

No further information is available at this time.

Fire Consumes Garage, Vehicles and Boat on Indian River Road

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Jun 232016
 

Total destruction

Total destruction

Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon (June 22) the police dispatcher fielded several calls from people driving on Marsh Hill Road who reported heavy smoke coming from the rear of the UI building.

Responding Orange Volunteer Fire personnel quickly discovered that the smoke was coming from a fully involved detached garage and 10×10 shed at 85 Indian River Road.

The property is set back up a long driveway far from the main road directly behind the UI property.

Fire Marshal Tim Smith said the fire extended from the two buildings to a boat and a truck.

The wind was blowing the smoke away from the house to a populated area, and could be seen from miles away.

The property owner was not at home when the fire broke out or during the firefight.

No one was hurt and the cause is still under investigation.

A garage, shed, two cars, one truck and a boat were lost in this fire.

A garage, shed, two cars, one truck and a boat were lost in this fire.