As part of its yearlong centennial celebration, Domtar’s Kingsport Mill in Kingsport, Tennessee, has donated $12,000 to the Kingsport Fire Department to replace its current animatronic mascot, Sparky the Fire Dog.
Who is Sparky the Fire Dog?
In one form or another, Sparky the Fire Dog has been the mascot and spokesdog of the National Fire Protection Association for 65 years. While his looks and demeanor have changed over the years, his dedication to fire safety has not. Through the decades, Sparky evolved from a simple line drawing to a stuffed animal to a costumed mascot with his own storybook and animated cartoon.
As technology has developed, Sparky, a Dalmatian, has become an animatronic education tool that teaches fire awareness and home safety to children across the nation. Today, Sparky drives around in a mini fire truck — with lights flashing and sirens blaring — to attract the attention of all children in his path. His conversational skills allow him to speak to children on their level and engage in fun and stimulating educational lessons.
After children visit with Sparky, they can learn more about fire safety on Sparky’s website. The site offers fun activities, information about fire trucks, cartoons, crafts, stories and links to Sparky the Fire Dog mobile apps that help kids continue to learn about fire safety through fun games.
A New Sparky for Kingsport
Sparky has been a part of the Kingsport Fire Department family for 10 years, and, as is to be expected, he has experienced some wear and tear. Purchasing a replacement Sparky for the fire department is a great way for the Kingsport Mill to demonstrate care and passion for the community, education and safety.
“Sparky plays an important role in educating the Kingsport community about fire safety,” says Kingsport Mayor John Clark. “Funding for projects like this, however, can be challenging, and we are grateful to Domtar for providing this much-needed contribution. Our city is honored to have a forward-thinking partner like Domtar that truly understands the importance of safety education and continually strives to make a positive impact on the community it serves.”