Oh, these stories. They’re all the same. There are neighborhoods all across the country that have one amazing person in them, with one amazing thing—a fantastic garage, an airplane, whatever—and there’s always neighbors who want to see the One Interesting Thing gone. Here the story is again, this time with vintage fire engines.
This time the interesting neighbor is named Jasen White (who seems like a good guy even if he’s confused on how vowels work) and the neighborhood is known as Chimney Hill, in Virginia Beach, VA. White was a fireman and EMT for 25 years before an injury put an end to his career.
In 2014, White sold his Corvette and bought the first of his three classic fire trucks, which he restored to like-new condition. He normally keeps the trucks by his house or in his driveway, and pictures from Google Earth do show one of the fire engines where he says they’d go.
The fire trucks have become a focal point for kids in the neighborhood, and White frequently uses the trucks in local parades and children’s fundraising events. Around Christmas, he decorates the trucks in lights, turns on the truck’s lights and sirens, and hands out candy with a friend he convinced to dress up as Santa Claus.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, neighbors complained about the event. Police let him continue to parade in the neighborhood, just with the sirens off. That part does seem like a good idea. I mean, sirens are loud, so I get why some may complain, but, then again, it is in the cause of something fun, and it’s not like it happens every day.
Overall, it all seems pretty charming to me, and I’m pretty sure if there was a fire truck in my neighborhood, my 6-year-old would be all over it, any time he could be.
The trucks are now gone, though, thanks to complaints from an anonymous neighbor or neighbors. White’s neighborhood is part of a homeowner’s association, but White insists he’s abiding by the HOA’s rules.
In fact, in the case of the Christmas fire truck event, the homeowner’s association even helped promote the event, and he contacted the city to be sure no special permission was needed.
The newspaper quotes White when asked about the complaints regarding his fire truck holiday event,
“It’s like going up to a puppy dog and kicking it. It’s the biggest Grinch thing in the world.”
It is against HOA rules to leave a commercial vehicle parked for more than 48 hours, so White is careful to drive the trucks to his work so they won’t remain at his house for more than two days.
Sure, having a fire truck at your house is unusual, but these are hardly heaps; the trucks have all been restored and are in pristine condition, and they don’t appear to be blocking traffic or anything like that. Many neighbors and especially the neighborhood’s kids genuinely love having the trucks around.
Again, this just seems yet another battle in the secret war between People Who Have Interesting Things On Their Property and People Who Hate Interesting Things On Other People’s Property.
For the record, I’m pro interesting things.
UPDATE: Some commenters have noted that the sidewalk is blocked in the Google Earth images. That’s an issue. It’s not clear if that’s unusual, and the trucks were normally on the street, or what.