Dayton VFD promises thrills, chills at haunted house

Dayton Fire Capt. Jaimie Villegas and Firefighter Austin Dale work on the fire department's haunted house, which will open for two weekends only in October.

After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dayton Volunteer Fire Department’s haunted house is back and promises to be better than ever, according to Senior Capt. Bradley Templeton.

“We have added some twists and turns, so you are looking at about 15 to 20 minutes to go through the entire haunted house,” said Templeton, adding that firefighters have volunteered their time to work on the haunted house since Sept. 10 and are committed to donating roughly a month and a half of their free time for this fundraising project.

Set up in a secondary fire station on the 100 block of Cook Street, the haunted house will be open for two weekends only – Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30. It opens nightly at dusk and closes at 11 p.m. or until there are no persons standing in line to enter. The cost is $12 for people 9 and older. Children 8 and under are free.

“This is one of the department’s biggest fundraisers. It doesn’t come close to Boots and Bullets but it’s in the top 5 of our fundraisers. It certainly is one of the more popular fundraisers for the department. It brings in local residents and shows them that we like to have a good time, too, as part of community,” Templeton said. “We really enjoy seeing everyone come out wearing their Halloween costumes, so we encourage that.”

Two mainstays of the haunted house will return – the Vortex, a metal structure that gives one a dizzying effect as they try to cross it, and the terrifying killer from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

“The rest we are keeping a secret. You have to go through it to find out what we have added,” he said.

The haunted house historically brings in people of all ages. In previous years, attendees formed a line down the street as they waited for their turn to enter.

“There are a lot of teenagers who come out but we do get a good flow of grownups who enjoy Halloween,” Templeton said.

If you plan to go, here are some things you should consider: 1. flashing lights will be part of the display so people with seizure conditions should understand the risk before entering; 2. dress appropriately for the weather as you may have to stand in line briefly; and 3. wear closed-toe shoes (no flip flops) to avoid injury.

Firefighters are taking precautions to ensure the safety of patrons at the haunted house, but everyone enters at their own risk. There are exits along the path of the haunted house in the event that a person becomes overwhelmed. A firefighter will help lead them safely out of the haunted house.

Dayton firefighters set up the frame for the Vortex, an attraction at the fire department’s haunted house.

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