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FFs Attend Premiere of Film Portraying Their Lives

FFs Attend Premiere of Film Portraying Their Lives

Lori Van Voorhis looks at her husband, Peoria Fire Department Division Chief Gary Van Voorhis, after viewing Station House at Landmark Cinema Wednesday evening. The piece, which could become a reality show, a documentary, or a movie, was filmed at fire st

Peoria Journal Star via YellowBrix

July 02, 2010

PEORIA, MI – Most of a firefighter’s life is spent doing something besides fighting fires.

That is the point behind “Station House,” a potential reality television series which premiered Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Peoria Theater. Peoria firefighters formed the first audience, because Peoria firefighters formed the bulk of the first show.

“This movie actually portrays a 24-hour period of what a professional firefighter does,” explained Peoria Fire Department Capt. Andy Perry. “That includes the training, the practical jokes, the calls, the meals, the fires – everything.”

Princeville-based CK Pictures took more than two years to distill that 24 hours into 88 minutes. Filming took place in Peoria and Grand Rapids, Mich. Alongside a brief section on a fire at Metro Centre and a potentially scary gas leak, most of the movie involves the routines and the people who make up a regular day on the job.

On the one hand, firefighters are polishing the poles and cutting cards to see who does the dishes. On the other, they’re treating a near-lethal asthma attack or removing Taser prongs from an Olympics-addled Romeo who only admitted to liking a lady a little too much while taking Vicodin. And then they have some assignments with people who fall in between. The late Miss Julie Brown, for example, was a regular caller on a first-name basis with the guys at her local fire station because of her severe medical problems. It took seven or eight people to load her on the gurney for a trip to the doctor.

“Seventy-five percent of our calls are medical calls,” Perry said.

While there has been some interest in the project as a television series, “Station House” is just exploring its distribution options, according to CK Chief Operating Officer Michael L. Morrow.

“It could be a movie or it could be made for TV,” Morrow said. “It could go either way.”

Considering that he started with “Station House” as one of the lead characters two years ago, then got recruited for his management skills after retiring from the Peoria Fire Department last fall, Morrow should know. He has one of the most serious moments in the film when he discusses what happened the day the last firefighter was killed on the job in Peoria in 1983. And his son, Tim, has one of the lightest moments in the film when he gets a blast from a firehose during his rookie initiation two years ago.

“Not by choice,” the younger Morrow said with a grin.

Perry’s girlfriend, Jessi Flexer, proclaimed the movie “very impressive,” which seemed the consensus in an admittedly firefighter-friendly crowd. A brief clip from the film can be seen on CK Pictures page at