PORTLAND, Maine — The annual Halloween Fire Prevention Festival 2021, also known as Halloween Fest 2021, was held on Saturday in Portland.
It was originally scheduled to take place outside at Longfellow Park, but due to rain, it was moved to the University of Southern Maine's Sullivan Recreation and Fitness Complex.
Everyone in the community was welcome to the free event and encouraged to put on their best Halloween costumes, have fun, and learn fire safety tips.
The event was started in response to a fatal fire at an apartment building on Noyes Street in Portland on November 1, 2014, in which six people died. It's believed the apartment's smoke alarms weren't working and some exits were blocked.
Now, the annual event combines lessons in fire safety with Halloween fun.
"The event is about community service and we're just hoping people leave with some information that might help them down the road," said Carol Schiller, President of the University Neighborhood Festival.
Officials with the Portland Fire Department were there grilling hotdogs and hamburgers.
“This event is important to me because as a Portland firefighter I have a deep passion for caring for people of the community and helping others and helping to prevent fires and loss of life or injury," said Nathan Elmore, Vice President of the Portland Professional Firefighters.
There were many activities and stations held inside the gymnasium, including one with information about fire prevention, one with USM chemistry students making slime. There was also face painting, cornhole, and even dance performances.
“It’s been awesome being able to see how excited all the kids get when they come and get to make slime because not all the parents want to do it at their house so it’s nice to be able to give back to the community in a way that still involves our club and also makes people smile," said USM Chemistry Club member, Gabrielle Hamm.
People were required to wear face masks while inside.