May 21, 2018
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Firefighters to converge on PI in September

By Kathy McCarthy Presque Isle Star Herald, Special to the BDN

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Visitors and residents of the Star City in town the weekend of Sept. 10-12 shouldn’t be alarmed if they see a multitude of firefighters. It will be a time of celebration as hundreds of firefighters from Maine and parts of New Brunswick converge on the city to take part in the 47th annual Maine State Federation of Firefighters State Convention.

Among the weekend activities that are open to the public are a parade on Saturday, a firefighters muster on Sunday, a comedy show featuring Bob Marley on Saturday, rides on Big Red, the world’s largest monster truck, and live demonstrations on both days. Visitors will have a chance to meet and get autographs from actor Randolph Mantooth, who played a paramedic and firefighter Johnny Gage on the TV show “Emergency,” which aired on NBC in the early 1970s.

Vendors will have booths set up at the fairgrounds and will be selling food and other merchandise all weekend, according to Grant Spinney, event coordinator and member of the Presque Isle Fire Department, host of the convention.

“We’ll have 83 booths set up at the Exhibition Building featuring vendors from all over New England, with about 60 percent fire-related,” he said.

Demonstrations will include firefighters showing how they tackle car fires and cars being cut up by a company that sells hydraulic extrication tools to fire departments across the nation.

Spinney said some demonstrations would be strictly for observation, while others will serve as training for firefighters.

Organizers also are planning a memorial at 2 p.m. Sept. 11 to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in 2001. According to Spinney, the federation president will speak on behalf of board members, and a list of Maine firefighters who have died over the last year will be read.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit

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