National City's Firefighter Association Local 2744 will be frightening the community on Halloween night at its annual Tower of Terror event.
On this day, fire station 34 will deck out its six-story training tower with skulls, skeletons and tombstones to create a haunted house-themed tower.
The training tower is used to conduct search and rescue training and has a burn room that is used for fire drills.
Local 2744 President Mark Beveridge said firefighters take it upon themselves to make the event come to life.
“This was all built by National City firefighters on their free time,” he said.
Firefighters began preparing for the event two weeks ago.
Beveridge said he doesn’t limit the firefighters’ creativity as they can make the tower as spooky as they like.
The event originated about six years ago when three firefighters saw a need to do something more formal for Halloween instead of just passing out candy at the fire station’s office.
Beveridge said since then, the Tower of Terror’s attendance has grown every year. Last year about 3,500 people attended, he said.
“This is one of the premier events in the city every calendar year,” Beveridge said. “It’s become a very large community event.”
Some actors with chainsaws and masks in the tower are actual firefighters, others are actors from the Sweetwater Union High School Drama Club.
A costume contest is also planned for the night.
The fire union and National City’s City Council team up annually to host this event, with sponsorship from Costco and Dixieline Lumber and Home Centers.
Costco provides a four-by-four- by-three-foot-tall pallet full of candy.
Dixieline contributes lumber and other equipment that is needed for the night of terror.
Beveridge said the fire department had to apply for a temporary use permit to turn the tower into a haunted house.
As part of the yearly Halloween festivities in the city, National City’s Low Riders Club will host its trunk or treat event near the tower.
Beveridge said the Tower of Terror is the place to be Halloween night.
“The biggest thing that the community can take from this event is that they are going to a place that is safe as they get scared,” he said.
Beveridge said the fire department will still be in operation as the event is happening.
Tower of Terror hours are from dusk to 9 p.m.