South Gulf County volunteer fire department offers more than protection

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 09:33 AM.

“They were much more than just here to put out fires,” he recalled.

Seeing Larsen and Vacco interact is similar to watching a brother and sister pick on one another, but you know that deep down, there’s nothing but respect between them.

The department’s fun and lighthearted attitude led the members to shoot a notorious photo calendar as a fundraiser last year. To prove that they took fighting fires infinitely more seriously than they did themselves, the calendar features volunteer members scantily clad, using perfectly-placed equipment to cover up their…well, you get the idea.

That same sense of humor got them noticed over the summer by a producer from New York City who was interested in filming the department and pitching it to television networks as a reality television show. The producer had planned to spend a day with the joint chiefs and their crew, but had so much fun that he stayed for a week and filmed a “sizzle reel” that he would pitch to several TV stations.

It’s too soon to know whether or not the show will be make television history, but it won’t keep the department from serving the community as they always have.

“People are calling you on their worst day,” said Larsen. “They’re thankful for your help and I can’t think of anything more rewarding.”

“If you don’t like what you’re doing, it shows,” added Vacco. “We’re all volunteers. You either like it, or you don’t have to work here.”

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