The McAllen Fire Department is selling its inaugural calendar, featuring dramatically lit images of firefighters, some of whom are shirtless.
The firefighters are turning up the heat in an effort to raise money to restore an old fire engine.
“It was ladder one back in the day, I think in the 1950s,” said Fire Chief Rafael Balderas. “We want to bring it back to life.”
The department’s answer was a calendar, which firefighters around the world are known to go shirtless for.
Captain Hector Bennett, a 13-year vet with the department who is featured on the April spread, said he volunteered because it hadn’t been done locally.
“We’re making leaders out of our guys and they have the mentality of being the first to do it,” Balderas said.
Bennett thumbed through the calendar for the first time on Wednesday.
“I think it came out pretty good, (but) there’s room for improvement,” he laughed, joking about their physiques.
The chief said he’d seen the prospect of being featured in print as an incentive in their physical training.
“It’s motivated a lot of guys to say they want to get ready for next year,” he said. “It’s brought up our health and wellness program.”
Images feature some actions shots, as well as portraits in front of trucks and their training facility.
Balderas stressed that no taxpayer money was used on the project. An anonymous donor paid for the photography and printing of the 500 calendars, he said.
“Everything we make is going to be profit for this project,” the chief said.
Calendars are available for $20 at the McAllen Central Fire Station on 201 N. 21st St.