Given the escort presence—including 20 motorcycle police officers—you’d be forgiven if you thought a head of state or an elite celebrity was arriving at the firehouse at 2501 25th St. in Potrero Hill.
But no: It was two truckloads of Sierra snow.
Fifteen cubic feet of flakes arrived Wednesday morning as part of the San Francisco Fire Department’s holiday decorating contest. The Potrero Hill station, tucked on a quiet block adjacent to U.S. 101 and home to Engine Company No. 37, won the contest last year, in part by including foam-based snow as part of its decorations.
When the station got wind that other San Francisco firehouses entering the contest this year—a total of 10—were planning to include fake snow as part of their decorations, last year’s winners decided to up the ante and coordinate a snow delivery of real snow with the Teamsters.
But the snow’s arrival demonstrated how we’re not used to dealing with the frosty stuff. The dump truck’s door would not swing out, and another piece of machinery had to help dislodge the stubborn powder.
“Hit it with the backhoe!” one of the Teamsters called out.
The underwhelming dismount did little to dampen the holiday spirit, which included carols, the throwing of real snowballs and an appearance by Emperor Norton himself (aka Battalion Chief John Rocco), who called the trip across the Bay Bridge on a vintage fire truck “the coldest ride of the year.”
Danny Gracia, president of the SF fighters union, encouraged the public to drop off toys at any of the firehouses across the city to donate them to children in need.
Captain Jonathan Baxter invited San Franciscans to the fire station Wednesday evening from 7 to 10 p.m. for a community event that includes hot cocoa, treats and a visit from Santa.
“Meet your public servants, and make a new friend,” Baxter said.