Birmingham Fire Department shows off photo collection

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 7, 2015

 Jill Haury, owner of The Art & Frame Station on Peabody Street in Birmingham, created this award-winning tribute to the Birmingham Fire Department with her husband.

Jill Haury, owner of The Art & Frame Station on Peabody Street in Birmingham, created this award-winning tribute to the Birmingham Fire Department with her husband.

Photo provided by Jill Haury

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BIRMINGHAM — The annual Birmingham Fire Department open house is typically held in the fall. That’s still true, but this year the fire house on Adams Street is opening its doors this summer for a special celebration.

From 6:30-8:30 p.m. July 21, families are invited to come meet and greet Birmingham firefighters and paramedics, and also take a peek at the station’s newly restored photo gallery.

The open house was the idea of Jill Haury, owner of The Art & Frame Station. For the past few months, the business has been working with the department to help preserve many of its old photos and composite portraits.

“We’ve been taking everything down and preserving it with the acid-free backing, conservation glass, redoing the whole fire hall and preserving the pieces as best we can,” said Haury.

At one point during the process, she got a notice from a frame vendor about a competition they host each year, and the theme for this round was “Hometown Hero.”

“I was already working with the Fire Department, so I asked if they had anything fun for me to put in a shadowbox. That was a mistake,” she laughed. “They brought me axes and hoses and nozzles that were 2 feet tall.”

The collection couldn’t be boxed in with a simple frame. Haury and her husband created what they call a “wacky art piece” from the items. It stands 9 feet tall and includes everything the firefighters donated.

The piece took the top prize in the competition, and now Haury plans to donate it back to the department where it belongs, she said, and she wants the community to come out and see it.

“We hear so many negative things about fire and police officers. When we were kids, you knew your firemen because they were your next-door neighbors who volunteered,” she said. “We want to bring that small-town feel back to Birmingham and have everyone come down and visit with the firemen and come see what we restored.”

Kroger has donated a cake for the event, and other individuals will provide refreshments for guests. In preparation for the big open house, Haury has been asking local business owners to donate resources for a special surprise that will be revealed that evening for the firefighters.

“Jill’s done a wonderful job preserving our history. For so many years, we kind of took things for granted as far as preservation, and she kind of took the ball and has done wonders with it,” said Fire Inspector David Greenwood. “You’ll see at the open house in our hallways our annuls with all the firefighters and our ‘We Remember’ wall, which is a little historic display of all the firefighters who have passed either in the line of duty or while employed with us dating back to 1949 — seven in all. We have gotten so many comments on how good it looks.”

The Adams Fire House is located at 572 S. Adams Road in Birmingham.

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