Fire chief volunteers for love of holiday spirit

When Holiday in the City was revitalized a few years ago, the addition of a fireworks show required the services of then Fire Marshal Nick Heimlich.

“I got started principally with other city officials to appropriately navigate public safety,” he said. “But after doing this for a while, you get hooked into the holiday spirit.”

Heimlich, who is now the city’s fire chief, has been volunteering for the event ever since, and has worked on many components beyond the fireworks. The planning work begins in June with brainstorming sessions and logistics. He enjoys it so much that he asked to be added as a member of the standing committee.

“At one point, the coordination of building lighting could only be done with our radios, so I arranged that. We have also used a fire engine to bring Santa downtown during the parade,” he said. This year he is also the service coordinator for the surprise Santa visits.

The excitement in his voice when he talks about the fireworks reflects his love of the event.

“When the sun goes down, the winds tend to quiet, like the weather is taking a sigh, offering the perfect moment to launch the fireworks show. We have to wait until just a few minutes before we begin the show and evaluate the situation to control for potential drift,” he said.

Heimlich keeps coming back because he knows he is helping bring vitality to the downtown and is creating a positive experience for the thousands of people who attend every year.

“I have had the unique experience of standing in the crowd as their excitement grows and standing right next to the fireworks as they go off,” he said. “It’s rewarding and personally satisfying – there are lots of little moments that I enjoy. I’m just glad to be a part.”

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