PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Last Friday’s storm knocked out power across Rhode Island, but it wasn’t enough to end a tradition that shows some sick kids at Hasbro Children’s Hospital that the world outside their hospital rooms cares.
The firefighters at Providence’s Washington Street station had a day full of emergency calls, including flooded basements, power outages and fires, according to Captain Joe Molis.
By around 8 p.m., a respite allowed them to sit down for dinner.
“We were in the middle of the storm. We were running around doing a few fires and bunch of runs. Just a busy day for us,” Molis said. “We’d just sat down to eat and firefighter Sullivan gets a text that says we need you at the Hot Club.”
But it wasn’t for a beer and some popcorn.
The riverside bar and grill and a number of other businesses have been blinking goodnight to the kids Hasbro for about two years.
In the summer of ’16, we took you to the East Bay bike path, where East Providence police joined the 8:30 light show.
And right before Christmas, we watched Frank and Tyler Picozzi’s holiday display on wheels attract a small crowd of lights to the shadows of the hospital.
“I just wanted to give them a little bit of Christmas,” Picozzi told us in December. “And their families a little bit of comfort.”
The problem last Friday was the storm took out the Hot Club’s power.
So, the call to Molis’s station was a non-emergency emergency, to keep Good Night Lights on.
“Literally it was put our forks down and let’s go,” he said.
Forgotten was the drain of a day of runs in the weather.
“It’s tiring,” Molis added. “But there was absolutely no hesitation. We were going. There was no choice. How can you say no to the kids at Hasbro?”
He said Engine 3 got there first, but was called away for another emergency run.
By that time, power was restored to the bar’s neon lights, but it didn’t matter.
The firefighters weren’t quite sure what to do or even when exactly to do it.
But the kids knew.
“Maybe a minute before, about 8:29, they were flashing their lights and we could see them clear as day,” Molis recalled. “It was just a heartfelt experience. You’re making a difference in that kid’s night. It was gratifying.”
No one is quite sure whether or not the young patients knew a fire truck was part of that stormy goodnight, but Molis hopes they saw and heard it.
“We all turned our lights on and the guys were blowing the horn,” he said. “And here we are flashing the flashlights back at them, and you’re wondering who is this kid. It was a great experience.”