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Rain Where It's Wanted: Strafford's Fire Truck Night Cools Down a Sweltering Day

  • Children scream and run under the water sprayed by three hoses from Strafford Volunteer Fire Department Trucks during Fire Truck Night on the Strafford Town Green Monday evening. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Children scream and run under the water sprayed by three hoses from Strafford Volunteer Fire Department Trucks during Fire Truck Night on the Strafford Town Green Monday evening. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Strafford Fire Chief Jeremiah Linehan sprays a fire hose high in the air to douse children and adults alike during Fire Truck Night on the Strafford Town Green on Monday. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Strafford Fire Chief Jeremiah Linehan sprays a fire hose high in the air to douse children and adults alike during Fire Truck Night on the Strafford Town Green on Monday. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Children scream and run under the water sprayed by three hoses from Strafford Volunteer Fire Department Trucks during Fire Truck Night on the Strafford Town Green Monday evening. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Strafford Fire Chief Jeremiah Linehan sprays a fire hose high in the air to douse children and adults alike during Fire Truck Night on the Strafford Town Green on Monday. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

— With little warning, members of the Strafford Firemen’s Association pointed three fire hoses toward the sky and in seconds water sprayed down on more than 100 local children.

The fire association and the town’s librarian picked a picture perfect summer evening for the annual Fire Truck Night in Strafford, where families gathered to cool off and explore the fire engines.

“This is lucky,” Fire Captain Jeremiah Linehan said of Monday’s weather. “It’s good that it’s this hot, more kids will come out and play in the water.”

More than 800 gallons of water per minute were pumped high in the sky, and on a day where temperatures pressed 90 degrees guests warmly welcomed the water.

Within minutes, the village green turned into the local swimming hole where children rolled and splashed across the grass.

“It was really cold,” Clair Jenisch, 12, said of the water temperature. “(But) I thought it was really fun because everybody gets to get wet.”

“The water was spraying really hard,” said Justin Robinson, 7, adding that frolicking around in the water was his favorite part of the event.

The hoses were pumped at varying pressures — but hovered around 80 PSI, Linehan said, which is relative to what the firemen would use to put out a house fire.

“There is enough pressure in these to really hurt somebody, so we keep them (the hoses) high,” Linehan said, adding the pressures were reduced when children were near.

Monday’s community event marked the 4th annual Fire Truck Night in Strafford, which is set up to be an educational event.

“The kids get a chance to come out and see what the fireman do,” Linehan said. “Everybody here is a volunteer, so we like to get the volunteers out to show their faces to the townsfolk. And also we use it as a little bit of a recruiting chance for the department.”

Emily Zollo, Strafford’s Children’s Program Coordinator, said the event is something the town’s six-week summer program always takes part in. She noted it’s a great addition to the program’s schedule and works out well because it’s intended for people of all ages.

“I love to see the many parts of the community together and having fun, all the different generations,” Zollo said.

The firefighters manning the hand lines and deck hose varied each hose’s angle and at times, the children tried to chase the stream of water as the firemen directed it across the green.

The sun beamed down throughout the course of the 25-minute man-made shower, and only a few shadows could be seen. After the hoses were shut down and the high temperature began to subside, many children took turns sitting in the driver’s seat of a fire truck.

Resident Angela Avery took photographs of her 31/2-year-old son Jackson as he stomped around on the saturated green.

This was the first time Avery and her son attended this event, and they both rated it a success.

“It’s just wonderful, you never see stuff like this anymore,” Avery said. “It brings the kids together. Jackson doesn’t yet know any of the kids, so it’s a nice way for him to mingle and socialize a little bit ... and this is his socialization tonight.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.