2014 Fire & Safety Expo/Firefighter Demolition Derby Thrills Crowds at the Fairgrounds


The Fire & Safety Expo/Firefighter Demo Derby presented by Viejas roared back into the San Diego County Fair June 7th. Teams from 15 fire departments customized clunkers to compete for the Steven Brucker Memorial Award.

The Del Mar Arena was the center of the day’s activities, including live firefighting demonstrations, free giveaways, educational and interactive activities. American Medical Response volunteers taught over 500 attendees how to perform CPR! Outside the arena, visitors could get a close-up look at dozens of derby cars – and meet the courageous drivers. A big thank you to Dave Stall “The Car Guy” from KUSI News, who did a great job as event emcee and derby announcer. This year’s Burn Run Parade of Fire Engines drew over 45 vehicles. They created quite the scene as they arrived at the fairgrounds with lights flashing!

The official opening ceremonies, emceed by DJ Nolan from 105.7 the Walrus took place later in the day led by bagpiper Rob McNight and members of the Vista and Oceanside Fire Departments Color Guard. The National Anthem was sung by Alfonso Lealcala During the ceremony, the Firefighters Advisory Council to the Burn Institute presented a check for $65,000 representing the proceeds from the day to the Burn Institute.

Dynamic Displays

There was plenty of exciting action with dynamic displays held throughout the day. First was a Jaws of Life demonstration from Miramar Fire Department. Next in line was a thrilling demonstration by Del Mar Lifeguards who rappelled from the overhead rafters 5-stories above the arena floor. The Chula Vista Police Department’s K-9 attack dog demonstration followed. Last, Cal Fire roared into the arena to show off its special bulldozing equipment.

Demo Derby – Double the Action

15 fire departments came through with 17 vehicles, outfitted and driven by firefighters from fire agencies throughout the county. They worked tirelessly — finding old cars, retrofitting them to meet safety specifications and then customizing them with a dramatic coat of paint and intimidating details. Each department was tasked with raising $1,000 in sponsorships for their car. The preliminary rounds took place at 1:00 pm. At 5:00 pm the roar of engines once again began to fill the arena for the Last Chance Qualifying heat followed by the finals as the drivers maneuvered their mangled, multi-colored wrecks into place for the official line-up. The vehicles took to the arena to battle it out until they were reduced to heaps of distorted, smoking metal.

As cars were disabled, one by one in the pulse-pounding finale, only Imperial Beach, Viejas and Lakeside remained to battle it out for the title. Winning First Place bragging rights was Imperial Beach Fire Department and driver, Ehren Kahle. Coming in second was driver Brandon Massey and the Viejas Fire Department. The third place winner was Lakeside Fire Department with Danny Leetch driving.

Thanks to all the departments that participated – Alpine Fire, Barona Fire, Bonita Fire, Heartland Fire & Rescue, Lakeside Fire, National City Fire, Santee Fire, Coronado Fire, Lemon Grove Fire, Rainbow Fire, San Diego Fire-Rescue, Oceanside Fire, Orange County Fire, Imperial Beach Fire and Viejas Fire.  Also,thank you to the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians for supporting this great event.

Thank you to all of the demolition derby sponsors:

(Final list to be updated in the near future!)

$1,000 +

Woof n’ Rose Winery, National City Lions Club, Grammy, Coastal Contracting, Viejas, Bub’s Dive Bar & Grill, Sharp Memorial, Mossy Honda Lemon Grove, Paradise Valley Hospital, Mile of Cars Association, Famulare Jewelers, San Diego City Fire Fighters Local 145, Firemen’s Relief Fund, San Diego 911 Memorial Stair Climb


Rainbow Property Owners Association, Mercy Air, National City Manager, Ones and Zeros Communications, Hawthorne Machinery Co., Barona Band of Mission Indians, RPL Electric, Westflex, Inc., Heartland Fire, WestAir, Smoothline Graphics, Bob Baker Toyota of Lemon Grove


OCFA Benevolent Association, Hydro-Scape Products, Inc., Cow-a-Bunga, Shores Solutions, State Farm, CrossFit Equilibrium, Snipes Dye Association, Law Office of Jeff Briggs, Sunset Marine, Infinity Pool, Reach, San Diego Indoor LLC, Coronado Brewing Co., McKee Asset Management, Roncell Plastics, Inc., Beron Electrical, J. Dery Jewelers, California Health & Safety, Inc., Snapp & Associates Insurance Services, Alpine Ace Hardware, North County EVS, Inc.,  Alpine View Lodge, Greek Village, St. Kieran Catholic School, Trinity Grading, Inc.,  Rainbow Oaks Restaurant, A+B Saw and Lawnmower, Jockey Person to Person, Digital Forensic, Inc., California Bank & Trust, EMS Management LLC, Lemon Grove Firefighters Union, National City POA, Bay Park Fish Company, Waterfront Bar, Material Sales, Inc., San Diego Seafood, Heartland Firefighter Unions, Alpine Tavern & Grill


Eagles Nest Winery, Mike Hook, Zion Management Services Company, Coronado Bay Urgent Car, Cheswick’s , 7-Eleven, The Surf Hut, I.B. Divers, Braun Northwest, Inc., Gen 7 Wines, Brian Cower Live, ICS Pacific Builders, Inc., 357 Golf Cart, Inc., Chief Darryl Hebert, Brad 4 Homes and Loans, Inc., Villa Nueva, Coronado Firefighters Association, Time Wise Jewelers, Drum Plumbing, Inc., Yogurt Island, McCarthy Transfer and Storage, Inc., Jennifer’s Feed & Supply, Alpine Firefighters Association, Alpine Fire Protection District Board, Life Deck Coating Installation, Fox Fury Lighting Solutions, Finger Austin, Chief Tim Isbell, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc., Napa Auto Parts

Photo credit:  Karen Cook

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