Huntsville has state’s first and only firefighter pipe and drum band

Updated: May. 16, 2019 at 8:05 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Sirens are what you expect to come from a fire station, but not from Huntsville’s Fire Station 1, especially on Wednesday nights.

That's when passersby stop along Clinton Avenue to listen to the strains from bagpipes.

Bagpipes? Yes, several of them.

They are all part of a new clan in town: the Huntsville Fire and Rescue Pipe and Drum band. It’s only one in the state of Alabama.

Some of these firefighters drive the engines, others are hazmat specialists. All of them are on fire about this chance to play the bagpipes.

They owe their proficiency to pro-piper Roque Haines, who donates countless hours each week teaching these men and women all the basics. In nine months, he’s come pretty far, since emergencies like car accidents, drug overdoses and fires come up when duty calls.

Each piper paid for his or her own instrument to the tune of $2,000 each.

HFR Chief Mac McFarlen says he's working to cover the cost of their kilts. That will happen in the future.

For now, the pipers will play in their class A uniforms as part of the Honor Guard at firefighter funerals and various community events. Their debut will be this Saturday at 10 at the Veterans Memorial.

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