As you may have heard, we are in the midst of a pandemic. Life has been turned upside down for many of us. For some, working from home has become the norm, while others are selflessly risking their lives to help other people. Having said that, all of us from the LFC Blog would like to extend our sincerest gratitudes to our firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, nurses, physicians, veterans, and other healthcare workers who are in the midst of probably their greatest fight yet. We also would like to thank our grocery workers, restaurant owners/employees, mail/delivery people, and other personnel for doing their best to keep us moving amidst this crisis.
Like many of you, I long to have some sort of normalcy return, so I figured now would be a good time to have a brand new interview! With that, I would like to introduce Ray S, the owner of Buena Vista Fire Department. , and member of the LMFD since 2007.
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog Ray! Please tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
R.S.: I’m from California. I got involved with Lego with my nephew. The first set I bought for him to play with was a firehouse in the late 1970’s. Fast forward to 2002, and I find myself building Lego Fire Trucks and placing them on Town and Train Layouts. Until that time, my fleet was 4-wide. I’ve upsized my fleet to be basically 6-wide (with an occasional 7- or 8-wide for special situations).
LFC Blog: Ahhh another Californian haha! I remember seeing your rigs around 2005ish for the first time! It's crazy to see how things have changed over the years. Who/what inspires you to build?
R.S.: My dad worked for the City of San Jose Fire Dept. I remember going to visit him often at the firehouse, so some of my builds are with him in mind. Also, there are a number of builders here on the internet that I get inspiration from for adding to my fleet.
LFC Blog: I bet seeing those rigs created some awesome memories! What's in the name Buena Vista Fire Department?
R.S.: Buena Vista Fire Dept is a play on words. First, it’s “Good View” in Spanish. There’s also a connection to Disneyland in that name as their studios that made a lot of the cartoons that I watched as a kid came from the Buena Vista Studios.
LFC Blog: As I hail from California too, I was pretty sure Disneyland was involved somehow haha! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
R.S.: My Tiller. I wanted the cab to match an existing Engine, so that was easy. But getting the ladder and tiller cab to blend in was a bit tricky. It may not be perfectly built to “scale,” but it looks good on the streets of Buena Vista. The challenge I eventually accepted was that it’s a bit too tall to fit in my firehouse.
LFC Blog: Tillers definitely have design challenges like you mentioned. It has taken me a couple of versions to discover/create a template for my current tillers too! What is your most favorite rig and why?
R.S.: My Rescue rig. It’s my interpretation so the rig from "Emergency", which I have seen in person.
LFC Blog: "Emergency" was one of my favorite shows growing up! Even though I didn't understand the words sometimes, I enjoyed seeing and hearing the apparatus. What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
R.S.: A better looking ladder for aerial trucks would be great.
LFC Blog: That is true! Some variety with ladder sizes and colors would be really great! What are your future plans for your department?
R.S.: If I had the time, I’d expand my Rescue rig and build the Crown and Ward La France rigs that also appeared on the TV Show “Emergency”
LFC Blog: Those are such iconic rigs to replicate, in my opinion! I would definitely love to see your take on a Crown as not too many people have built one. What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
R.S.: Good group of guys, I’ve met some, displayed with some and chatted online with others that are not close by.
LFC Blog: That is very true! I never thought I'd gain some awesome friends through this medium, yet here we are! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
R.S.: I enjoy seeing what everyone builds. Maybe some pics could be placed side by side, the MOC, and the real truck
LFC Blog: That is a great idea! Seeing inspirations for builds can certainly aid others looking for opinions on how to improve their builds! What is your favorite scene?
R.S.: My buddy and I did a wildland fire scene. We broke it up in to two parts. He did the fire area, I did the staging area. Tried to cover all aspects, including having other depts providing Mutual Aid. Some spectators that stopped by said we did a good job representing what goes on at a scene like this.
LFC Blog: That is great to hear how you've done displays! Awesome way to showcase the LFC! What is the best complement you've ever received?
R.S.: I used an old firehouse as inspiration for my “fire museum.” It was on display at a Lego Convention and some said they knew exactly where that fire house without even asking me what I had based my build on.
LFC Blog: The fact that people knew exactly what you built shows how well you built that fire museum. I think that's what makes a great builder. Any tips or advice for new builders?
R.S.: Spend what you can afford. There will always be someone with more than you have so don’t get caught up in that. Think of your dept as running a marathon and not a sprint race. My Dept is coming up on 20-years old. I’m happy with what I have built.
LFC Blog: Thank you for sharing your insights Ray! For sure, quality over quantity is a great mantra to follow! To those who constantly check out the site and send me private messages, thanks for your support throughout the years! I never thought the blog would garner this much attention, so from the bottom of our hearts here at the LFC Blog, we thank you so very much! Stay healthy my friends, and we will see you in the next installment of the LFC Blog!
~Committed to presenting outstanding LEGO firefighting MOCs from around the world!~
Blog Updated: 04/21/20
Welcome to the Lego Fire Community Blog! Presented here are outstanding builders who captivate their audience with their MOCs (My Own Creation). The purpose of this blog is to educate others of exemplary builders both past and present.
This blog is dedicated to Eric S. McDonald, the Fire Chief of the original Lego City Fire Department who died unexpectedly on Aug. 21, 2002. His vision is what started the whole LFC, and for that we are eternally grateful.
About the moderating team
Chief editor - Michael P. - Founder of Castle Beach Fire Department and Los Angelego County Fire Department
This website is not affiliated with The Lego Company, or any real life fire department for that matter. All builds presented here are original works by the respective builders who gave strict permission to utilize the photos on this website. None of the photos were/are kept for personal use.