Two things you couldn't have missed if you were around Fire Station No. 4 last week: All the fire engines and trucks were parked outside, and an intense smell of pancake batter filled the air.
It seemed like the space was needed for something else.
"Every year it gets better, it has more people, and people are happier," said Councilwoman Laura Macias about the annual community breakfast held at the station. "There's a lot to do, and the auction has great deals."
At the 7th Annual Firefighters Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, the took time to teach adults and children about fire safety and prevention. But the event also served as a fundraiser for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF), an organization that provides support and programming for child victims of burn injuries. The fire department has contributed money and time to it over the years.
"We are very intertwined, and we have a long-lasting relationship," said MVFD firefighter Jenna Graham about AARBF. She, like many other lcoal firefighters, volunteers at the AARBF summer Champ Camp, a safe place for children with burns. "I think [the breakfast] brings a little bit of awareness to the foundation itself, but we really want to raise awareness about fire prevention."
For the second year in a row, Janet Mejia took her son and nephew to the fire station.
"The kids woke up really early, very excited to come here," said the Mountain View resident. "My son learned that calling 9-1-1 is not just for any reason and that it's only for emergencies."
Sunnyvale resident Luca Ragnotti took his two daughter for the first time. "We think it's good for the kids to learn fire safety," he said.
Whether before or after the pancake, sausage, fruit, milk or orange juice breakfast, families had the opportunity to engage in various activities behind the fire station. They learned how to properly extinguish a fire and what to do if they saw smoke or smelled fire in their home. Firefighters also demonstrated building rescue efforts and allowed kids to put out wooden cut-out of flames with real water hoses.
Eighteen-year-old burn survivor, Nhi Vo, attended the breakfast and expressed how impressed she felt.
"I think it's a great event. These events really do help a lot," she said. "I went to Champ Camp, and it changed my life. These events help the organization to hold events for burn survivors."
The breakfast is not just for kids like Vo, but for all the kids.
"They other day, a woman used a fire extinguisher to put out a fire at her day care center, and that was something she learned to use at this event," said fire Capt. John Miguel, a 30-year-veteran of the force and board member of AARBF. "It's great to interact with the community."
Graham added that the seven children under the age of four at the center suffered no injuries because of what this woman did. "That's the nail on the head."
"The Burn Foundation offers support," Graham said, "but if we can prevent people from getting burned, that's even better."