It's true, this member of FDNY Engine 245 may look like he is smiling as he mops down Suzie the Ringling Brothers Elephant in this photo from the Daily News. But in reality it is a grimace of pain, because what he really is is angry that he has been taken away from protecting people in order to give an adorable roly-poly creature a personal sponge bath. That is, according to a press release we received from the firefighters union today, which had this to say:
Members of Engine 245 were originally asked to participate in this publicity stunt for Ringling Brothers Circus but declined. The request then rose up the chain of command to the Chief of Department, who also reportedly said no. Firefighters were told that officials at New York City Hall stepped in to order the fire company closed and ordered all on duty FDNY firefighters in the company to participate. The fire company was shut down and taken out of service for approximately 30 minutes while providing the pachyderm bath for Suzie the Circus Elephant.
“The public does not want firefighters out giving baths to circus elephants when our job is to respond to emergencies. It is a disgrace that these firefighters were taken out of service to conduct a publicity stunt for a private company.”
Confidential to "officials at New York City Hall": If there are any other adorable and exotic creatures that need to be hosed down, feel free to call us.