Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

East Lake's Haunted Fire House delivers a scary message

EAST LAKE

It's been 40 years since Captain Bludzwurth has seen the interior of East Lake Fire Rescue, Station No. 57. The ex-firefighter was expelled from his duties when it was discovered that he was an arsonist, not to mention insane. Now he's back for revenge, fire axe and all.

He's turned the station's equipment bay — all 4,000 square feet of it — into a turning, twisting maze of terror.

The Haunted Fire House will be open every Friday and Saturday night in October as well as on Halloween night — Monday, Oct. 31.

Guests will be warned to "Fear the Captain."

"It's pretty scary and gory," said District Chief Bill Edling. "It's better than people will expect it to be." The attraction is recommended for mature audiences; children younger than 13 will not be admitted without an adult.

Along with frightening fun, the firefighters hope to deliver a powerful message aimed at the hard-to-reach teen drivers and young adults: Don't text and drive.

As visitors head for the haunted house, they'll pass a gory accident scene where a decapitated driver lays next to a mashed-up automobile and a bloodied cell phone. A sign reads, "I wuz txt-n n driv-n."

Fire Chief Tom Jamison said distracted drivers pose a real problem for everyone on the road. In the East Lake District alone, firefighters responded to 217 auto crashes in 2010 and 162 through August of this year.

"The main reason for this haunted house was to get that message out," he said.

Inside visitors will see the coffin of Dexter the texter, MHRIP (May he rest in peace). Another coffin contains a mirror in the bottom, perhaps to trigger some self-reflection.

Some 16 scenes manned by 21 volunteer cast members include a campground, morgue, slaughterhouse and prison, all enhanced with creepy sounds and strange lighting.

And if you didn't have a fear of clowns before, get ready to become coulrophobic.

Glow sticks are available for guests who may be faint at heart. They will signal actors to tamp down their scares.

Edling said what makes this haunted house a standout are the professional props, which were purchased used from a haunted house attraction, the Bludzwurth Casket and Urn Company in Davenport, between Lakeland and Orlando.

"They are really high-end," Edling said. "We paid $5,000 for them and they're valued at $20,000."

Tickets are $5 each; $3 for fire, police and military personnel. A "Quick Kill" limited wait-time pass is available for $15. Proceeds, if any, benefit East Lake Fire Rescue's Honor Guard and annual Appreciation Banquet.

Last weekend's inaugural haunt was a startling success.

"We have had over 400 people attend in the first two days of operation, which has exceeded our expectations," said Jamison. "Any costs associated with the project should be recouped within its first year of operation."

The haunted firehouse was built by the firefighters with help and donations from local businesses and the community.

"It meets all the fire codes," Edling said.

Correspondent Terri Bryce Reeves can be contacted at [email protected]

.IF YOU GO

East Lake Fire Rescue's Haunted Fire House

Where: Station No. 57, 3375 Tarpon Lake Blvd., Palm Harbor

When: Open every Friday and Saturday night in October as well as on Monday, Oct. 31, from 7 to 10 p.m.

Admission: $5; $3 for fire, police and military personnel. A "Quick Kill" limited wait-time pass is available for $15.

Info: Visit fearthecaptain.com or eastlakefirerescue.com or call (727) 784-8668.

East Lake's Haunted Fire House delivers a scary message 10/15/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2011 4:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Roosevelt Blvd closed at I-275 after truck hauling crane hits overpass

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A truck transporting a construction crane hit the Interstate 275 overpass at Roosevelt Boulevard Tuesday.

  2. One Pasco County student arrested for bringing weapons to school, another for threatening shooting

    Crime

    Two Pasco County students from different schools were arrested Tuesday, one for having weapons on school grounds and the other for threatening a school shooting.

  3. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier

    K12

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools school will be in session from 8:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. starting in 2018-19, the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. The topic will be neighborhoods as Kriseman, Baker debate one more time

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, in a candidate forum on Wednesday hosted by the influential Council of Neighborhood Associations.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker during a September forum. The two will will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, during  a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 5th St. N. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]