Yorktown Fire Truck Visits Lights Up Walden, Pines Bridge Students

October 23, 2018

Walden School student Christian Arevalo liked the fire engine’s hoses. Classmate Aiden Rice, 6, liked climbing into the cab to see the equipment inside. And eight-year-old Antonio Occhicone liked “everything about it.”
“It’s all so cool!” he said, waving at the Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department’s shiny engine.
Students from Walden and the Pines Bridge Schools, located on the Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES campus, spent Tuesday morning enjoying the thrill of seeing a fire truck up close without having to travel to a local firehouse – an annual trip at many of the region’s typical elementary schools.
“They can’t come to the firehouse, so I bring the fire engine to them,” said Wesley Curtis, a volunteer firefighter and a PNW BOCES teaching assistant. “It’s worth it to see the smiles on the kids’ faces.” Curtis said the department was happy to arrange the visit, viewing it as another way to be part of the Yorktown community.
“The students showed such excitement when they saw the truck,” said Pines Bridge teacher Jeannine Killenburger. “It’s a wonderful real-life experience for them.”
Curtis and the schools’ staffs tailored the visit to the physical and developmental abilities of the students who came out to see the fire truck, class by class.
For some Pines Bridge classes, the visit focused on simply seeing the engine and, when possible, being helped inside to look around. Curtis described the truck’s features to several Walden classes, and spoke about how to stay safe during a fire. He helped eager students climb inside and take a turn holding onto the rail on the engine’s back. For staff, Curtis had a special message: check your home’s fire extinguishers to make sure they would still work if needed.
Many of the schools’ teachers used the fire engine’s visit as part of larger lessons. Killenburger had been teaching her students about the color red in anticipation of the visit.
Walden teacher Melissa Bayeur had been playing math games with her class that related to firehouses. She also planned to talk about home fire escape plans after her students saw the truck.
The students, however, agreed that it was hard for any class lesson to compare with seeing a fire truck up close.
“It’s really, really fun to see a fire truck,” said eight-year-old Walden student Jayleen Dominguez.
Students from the Pines Bridge School, located on the Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES campus, check out a fire engine from the Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department.