In this installment of the blog, we feature Jessie Willis who is the owner of Brickland City Beach Fire & Rescue as well as Brickland Park Volunteer Fire Department! Enjoy!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog Jessie! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
JW: I've been building as long as I can remember. Started out just with my friends building trucks and buildings for a little city I had in my Lego room at the time. Fast forward to about 2007-08 we started doing fire trucks. Then I came across Bob K and Lego Twp, then MOC and its been downhill ever since lol
LFC Blog: Haha! That's a great account of how you got started! Who/what inspires you to build?
JW: Well the guys that first made a big impact on my building were Bob K, Matt J, Mike L, Tom D, Rodney G, Zak O, and Christian Collins, among others. But nowadays those names have been joined by people like Paulo, James K, Tim J, and practically everybody inspires me nowadays.
LFC Blog: All those builders are great people! What's in the name Brickland City Beach/Brickland Park and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
JW: My original department is Brickland Park. It's based off the real department I grew up in, basically what it was before the county took over and what I think it should be nowadays. I started Brickland City Beach, to mimic the beach department here (Panama City Beach). But quickly flourished to encompass the area of the beach the county covers also. The color schemes are just what the real departments are/were.
LFC Blog: I think many of us have those biases of creating things dear to us! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
JW: My most challenging I'd have to say is BCBFR Squad Engine 2. It was my first time building something like it with the pullouts below the compartments. The new tiller was quite a challenge also.
LFC Blog: Little details such as the pullout compartments may seem insignificant at first, but they really add a new dimension to MOCs! Tillers indeed are hard to get right haha! What is your most favorite rig and why?
JW: Now that's a hard one. A lot of my trucks I've had a long time so they all kind of have a special place to me. But I'd say the Ward La France and BCBFR engine 6 with dual ladder racks because they're so unique. And BPVFD Engine 9 because its based off my favorite real truck.
LFC Blog: I agree with you on that! I love each and every one of my rigs, and that makes it difficult to choose a single rig! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
JW: Think an inverted 1x1 cheese slope would be great for wheel wells. That way I wouldn't have to do SNOT which takes up some room and mode pieces.
LFC Blog: We should totally write a petition (with signatures) to The Lego Company with pieces we want to see XD What are your future plans for your department?
JW: No clue what the future holds. I wanna start another volunteer department, and start a paid department modeled after my hometown. Brickland Park will stay modest, maybe recieve a new engine or something. Brickland City Beach is in the middle of keeping apparatus up to date so no expansions in the foreseeable future.
LFC Blog: Awesome! Can't wait to see new rigs from you! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
JW: The best thing about the community is the people. From all over the world and different walks of life, different styles, trucks, operations. Think that's the best, cause you don't just see the same type of apparatus all over the place. Also, everybody is willing to help whether its with pictures, critiques, or files.
LFC Blog: That is very true! The community is what makes us special! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
JW: I'd like to see more mutual aid, more collaborations and just more of the community working together no matter what it is.
LFC Blog: I agree! I wish there was a single site where we could all collaborate, similar to EB or MOCpages. Any tips or advice for new builders?
JW: My first bit of advice would be to listen. Take the criticism, listen to the older guys, don't get to wrapped up in an idea or thought and don't take anything too serious. Also, don't be afraid to try something new, or get away from the norm. That'd what makes this hobby great.
LFC Blog: Thank you for those inspiring words, Jessie! I'd like to thank you once again for taking time out of your day to speak with us and share some of the things you've picked up over the past couple of years! To those reading this now, thank you so very much for reading the blog, 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.