Santa open house in Orondo

Santa visits with Mojo Harkey. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)


By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

Refreshment hostesses were, from left, Dee Shriner, Julie McCall and Ann Cooper. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

Douglas County Fire District 4 at Orondo provided an afternoon of celebration on Dec. 15 during?its annual Santa open house.

Flashing lights on several fire trucks outside the station?directed visitors to come in and see Santa. A firefighter stood outside to open the door and greet those arriving from the full parking lot.

Chief Jim Oatey and his crew kept busy inside welcoming children and parents and guiding everyone to the various activities available during open house hours from 2?to 4 p.m.

Besides the main attraction?? a visit with Santa to receive a candy cane, have a picture taken and sit on Santa?s lap to express Christmas wishes?? everyone was welcome to tour a large fire engine and the entire station.

Santa kept busy with the children.

?Some of the very young ones are kind of scared of me,? he said. ?But after they get a little older and know what this is all about they like to sit on my lap and tell me what they want for Christmas.?

Children also enjoyed a Christmas story inside the fire truck while adults visited, ate cookies and drank hot chocolate or hot cider. Hostesses Julie McCall, Dee Shriner and Ann Cooper kept the refreshment table supplied with goodies.

A blood pressure and blood sugar clinic was held during the open house. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

Also provided on the refreshment table were free?white and yellow plastic sports bottles stamped with the fire station name and logo?along with instructional information. The white water bottles listed things to do if a fire starts, while the yellow bottles?listed four ways to prevent fires. Instructions on how to contain a fire in?an oven or on the stove were also included.

At another area, firefighters operated a blood pressure and blood sugar clinic, testing all who desired a free check.

Child car seat instructions were also available.

?It?s been a good turnout so far,? firefighter Pat McCall said. ?It?s great to see the community come out and be involved. There is definitely no lack of energy here.?

Young Kyson Nice from East Wenatchee said he was having fun and liked the fire truck. ?I told Santa I wanted a Nerf gun, but I already have one of those. What I really want is Legos, but I forgot to tell him that. I love to play with?Legos at my Grammy?s house.?

The Orondo Fire Department will be sponsoring free first aid and CPR training on Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. for all DCFD4 residents. To register, call 784-2941 and leave a message or email

The department also has openings for volunteer firefighters, EMTs and auxiliary staff.

?Be part of the team to make a difference to your community,? Oatey says. Connect at? call 784-2941.