Orpheas, an 8-year-old Maryland resident, is wildly enthusiastic about fire and rescue services. He builds fire trucks with Legos and draws pictures of firefighting scenes, particularly ones featuring the planes that extinguish fires on his mother’s home peninsula in Greece.
“When I have screen time, I search for videos about fire and rescue. Sometimes I watch training videos and news about fires or equipment,” he shared. Orpheas learned about the Los Angeles Fire Department's (LAFD) environmentally friendly electric engine when he came across a video from LA This Week, Channel 35’s YouTube channel.
Orpheas was so impressed by the electric engine that he was moved to donate. He pulled together funds raised from singing carols during the holidays with his sister and donated a portion to LAFD Fire Station 82, where the green fire engine lives. As they had done for previous donations, Orpheas’s parents matched his gift, culminating in a $25 contribution.
“I made this donation because I wanted to congratulate Station 82 on having the first electric fire engine, which is not only helping people but also helping the environment,” Orpheas said of his gift.
From a young age, Orpheas remembers getting excited hearing sirens and watching his local volunteer fire department in Rockville, Maryland, pass by. When in Greece, he watches planes and helicopters collect water from the sea to put out fires across the peninsula. “They’ve saved our neighbors’ homes and olive trees four times that I can remember,” Orpheas recalled.
Despite having no friends or relatives in the fire service, Orpheas is fascinated and deeply inspired by firefighters and firefighting. He hopes to be a firefighter himself one day and, “protect people in difficult and dangerous conditions.”
Although Orpheas is just learning about the importance of philanthropy, he understands that supporting organizations that are doing good work has immense value. He also contributed some of his caroling money to his local station, Fire Station 3 of the Rockville, Maryland Volunteer Fire Department, and was invited for a private tour.
“I’m grateful for the chance to help people in need,” Orpheas emphasized. “When I give money to the fire department, I know that I’m helping them get jackets, masks, and safety gear that they need as well as new tires for the vehicles.”
On May 14, 2022, LAFD Fire Chief Kristin Crowley, alongside community and LAFD leadership, announced the launch of the electric engine at the LAFD Museum in Hollywood. The engine is not only the first for the LAFD, but the first in North America.
Fire Station 82 was selected as the station to house the engine because of the unique set of challenges and incidents in the Hollywood district, ensuring that the engine would be pushed to its maximum capacity. In its first week alone, electric LAFD Engine 82 successfully responded to over 100 calls.
The engine was designed to navigate residential areas with ease, with special attention to Los Angeles’s narrow streets. It can travel up to 62 miles on electric alone, and a gas-powered range extender kicks in and increases mileage to 300 when necessary. On the first 100 calls, the range extender only ran for a minute during its 95 hours of operation.
To the Los Angeles Fire Department, Orpheas says, “Many thanks for protecting people in Los Angeles who need 9-1-1 emergency help!”
All photos are used with permission by Orpheas’s father, Danny Stock.