Dover Fire Dept. to host Christmas event at firehouse

DOVER — City firefighters don’t want to be seen as Scrooges or Grinches.

They say they still enjoy connecting with kids at Christmas time — they really do.

The reality is, though, that no Kris Kringle-bearing engines will be rolling through Dover’s neighborhoods this Christmas season.

Instead of promoting good cheer in the streets, the 2018 Operation Santa will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Dover Fire’s headquarters at 103 S. Governors Ave. The event debuted in 2002.

The move to the downtown location was made “due to all of the apparent confusion and statements that were made over the past few years that Santa either missed neighborhoods, certain streets or people stating that they were not home when Santa came through …,” according to a DFD Facebook post last Wednesday.

Firefighters thus decided that a better option “was to be more personable and to have Santa come to the fire station and have the children come visit him there.”

Cookies, drinks and candy will be available for the kids, along with opportunity to have their photos taken with Santa and his elf.

Adults can receive free smoke detectors and fire extinguishers if they choose.

The switch to in-house came after several years of trucks covering as much territory as possible for four to five hours on a Friday, followed by eight hours on both Saturday and Sunday.

That amounted to a lot of time firefighters were spending away from their own families, Mr. O’Connor said, in addition to the roughly 1,500 calls they respond to annually.

“We have a huge fire district and trying to get everywhere is very manpower and labor intensive,” DFD spokesman Third Assistant Chief Michael O’Connor said.

“There was some good feedback for it but you’re never going to make everyone happy no matter how much planning and effort you put into it.”

Through a state grant, DFD received hundreds of smoke detectors with 10-year batteries to distribute on a first come, first served basis. Amazon donated roughly 738 fire extinguishers as well.

Distributing them from a moving fire truck would have been challenging, Mr. O’Connor said.

Firehouse tours will also be available and about a dozen members are expected to greet the public and staff the event.


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