Murals depict EMTs and firefighters, then and now

By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Somers - posted Thu., Sep. 22, 2011
Pat Morris works on one of the two murals she created for the Somers Fire Department. Contributed photo. - Contributed Photo

Artist Pat Morris, of Stafford Springs, recently completed two murals for the Somers Fire Department that depict modern and antique fire trucks and ambulances. “I’ve always had a painting in mind like this that I wanted to do,” Morris said.

Volunteer EMT Pat Loftus said those in the firehouse had wanted something to fill wall space in their meeting room. “We wanted something to depict our history,” said Loftus. “We have wonderful photographs and scrapbooks, but those are not things you can leave on display.”

In the ambulance mural, a tree in the center splits the two time periods, with wrecked cars on either side. On the right, workers carry a victim on an old-fashioned gurney to the antique ambulance. On the left, EMTs load their patient into a modern-day ambulance.

Because the firehouse did not have an exact idea of what they were looking for with the murals, Morris did several preliminary paintings to help them determine final scenes. The paintings changed several times, once because the department bought a new ambulance, which Morris incorporated into the final painting.

Loftus and Morris said the Internet played a large role in the four-month process. Morris would paint, then post pictures on her blog. Loftus would e-mail the link to those in the firehouse for their opinions.

“There were quite a few things that I wouldn’t have known because I’m not a firefighter or EMT,” Morris said. In addition to getting help from department staff, Morris sought advice from her son, who is also a firefighter. She took pictures of Somers’ equipment and drills, as well as set up certain scenarios to gain perspective. For the antique equipment, she used pictures from the fire department.

In the second mural, firefighters - contemporary and those of decades ago - work together to put out a house fire. Though the technologies have changed, the purpose has not.

“Today’s firefighters and EMTs carry the spirit of the former ones,” Morris said.

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