Anaheim Fire & Rescue initiative transforms fire hydrants into kid-created masterpieces

By Lou Ponsi

Fire hydrants are situated roughly every 500 feet along the streets of Anaheim.

Their presence is obviously a vital component of public safety and service to the community.

Thanks to an ingenious idea, hydrants in the city will continue to serve, even after they’ve been retired from fighting fires.

Noah, a youngster from the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim applies his artistry on a repurposed fire hydrant, which will then be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the club and other youth programs. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Noah, a youngster from the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim, applies his artistry on a repurposed fire hydrant, which will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the club and other youth programs. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Dozens of youngsters from the Orange County Family Justice Center, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim and Anaheim Cops4Kids spent Saturday, March 4, in the courtyard of the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center transforming these cast-iron fire plugs into vibrant, themed art pieces.

The repurposed hydrants will be auctioned off and proceeds will go right back to three groups who crafted them into art.

“It highlights a very vital function in that fire hydrants serve our city,” Anaheim Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Alan Long said. “We’re coupling that with these nonprofit groups and we’re making something of it.”

Fire Chief Randy Bruegman and executives from the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center collaborated on the idea, said Elsa Covarrubias, AF&R’s community engagement manager.

“Instead of just sending them to the recycle yard, let’s repurpose them,” Covarrubias said. “Let’s get our firefighters involved with this vital piece of equipment, making them an art project for the kids and then raising money for the nonprofits.”

With encouragement and assistance from the firefighters themselves, one hydrant was painted into a colorful, tangible tribute to the city, adorned with an Anaheim Ducks hockey team logo and Angel Stadium’s “Big A” symbol.

Anaheim firefighter/paramedic Luis Ledesma lends support Georgina, a member of Anaheim’s Cops4Kids program, as she paints a fire hydrant that will then be auctioned off to raise money for the program. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Anaheim firefighter/paramedic Luis Ledesma lends support Georgina, a member of Anaheim’s Cops4Kids program, as she paints a fire hydrant that will be auctioned off to raise money for the program. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Another hydrant was decorated with an abstract burst of multicolored handprints and characters.

In all, eight hydrants were turned into radiant art pieces.

“The kids … they are very creative,” said Luis Ledesma, firefighter/paramedic. “We might have one idea, but it’s fun to see the kids because their minds are so creative and you can see it in all of them.”

Anaheim Cops4Kids is a program within the Anaheim Police Activities League designed to build relationships between the police and children through a variety of educational, cultural and athletic activities.

The Orange County Family Justice Center provides help to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim has three centers, with a strong focus on educational, social and recreational programs.

Youngsters from three Anaheim youth groups created works of art from old fire hydrants during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. The painted hydrants will then be auctioned off and the proceeds will benefit each group. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Youngsters from three Anaheim youth groups created works of art from old fire hydrants during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. The painted hydrants will be auctioned off and the proceeds will benefit each group. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Children from three Anaheim youth groups repurposed old fire hydrants into art pieces as a fundraiser hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue. The hydrants will then be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to each group. Photo by Lou Ponsi/ Behind the Badge

Children from three Anaheim youth groups repurposed old fire hydrants into art pieces as a fundraiser hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue. Photo by Lou Ponsi/ Behind the Badge

A youngster, perhaps a future Anaheim firefighter, is curious about the inside of a fire hydrant. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

A youngster, perhaps a future Anaheim firefighter, is curious about the inside of a fire hydrant. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Noah, a youngster from the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim is totally focused on turning an ordinary fire hydrant into an art piece, will then be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the club and other youth programs. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Noah, a youngster from the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim, is totally focused on turning an ordinary fire hydrant into an art piece. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Repurposed fire hydrants were transformed into works of art by children from three Anaheim youth groups during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. The painted hydrants will then be auctioned off and the proceeds will go back to the groups. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Repurposed fire hydrants were transformed into works of art by children from three Anaheim youth groups during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Children from three Anaheim youth groups transformed old fire hydrants into art pieces during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. The painted hydrants will then be auctioned off and the proceeds will go back to the groups. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Children from three Anaheim youth groups transformed old fire hydrants into art pieces during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Repurposed fire hydrants were transformed into works of art by children from three Anaheim youth groups during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. The painted hydrants will then be auctioned off and the proceeds will go back to the groups. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Youngsters from three Anaheim youth groups created works of art from old fire hydrants during an event hosted by Anaheim Fire & Rescue on March 4. The painted hydrants will then be auctioned off and the proceeds will benefit each group. Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge

Photo by Lou Ponsi/Behind the Badge