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Veteran fireman plans to entertain, teach
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Forsyth County News

Karissa Cammile Wilkins thinks her father's fire truck is cool.

She already calls it her own, though at age 4 she likely doesn't understand her father's new business could be hers one day.
Named after Karissa, KC Fire Truck Rentals is open for business. Founded by her father, Chris Wilkins, the new service uses a 1976 American LaFrance fire truck for parties and special events.

"I hope one day to grow the business and turn it over to my daughter to have something," said Wilkins, a longtime Forsyth resident. "I've done several different part-time jobs ... but I wanted to do something I could give to my daughter one day."

An 11-year veteran of the Cobb County Fire Department, Wilkins decided to stick with what he knows best.

Using his newly purchased truck, he offers a range of services from ride-a-longs and gear demonstrations to fire safety classes and water-flowing competitions, complete with a real fire fighter hose.

For birthday parties, a child and parent can ride in a fire truck around the neighborhood. The truck attractions also come with a 15-minute fire safety class to "give them the educational side of it plus the fun side of it."

"That will help them one day if their house ever catches on fire," he said. "If I'm not going to be the one giving the class, the guys working for me will be paid firefighters too, that have a license to drive the trucks."

Because he still works full time in Cobb County, Wilkins has one Alpharetta and one Forsyth County firefighter as backup for the business.

Prices for the truck range from $175 to $375, depending on the services. There is a fuel charge for longer distances.

Wilkins said he plans to work with local charities to help with fundraisers. He is also looking forward to next month's Cumming Country Fair & Festival, where he will set up shop by his truck to help introduce his business to the community.

Wilkins' wife, Samantha Broxton-Wilkins, manages the business end, working on scheduling, ordering supplies, making calls and marketing.

Though she's not in fire service herself, she was excited about the idea from the get-go.

"I know that kids love fire trucks ... I just thought it was a great opportunity," she said. "It doesn't mater what their age, they're... interested in a fire truck."

KC Fire Truck Rentals will be a family business, as Karissa Wilkins will also help during weekend events, passing out tin fire hats and helping set the party table.

Broxton-Wilkins said she is both excited and nervous for their first event Sept. 24 at Brookwood Church.

"I think that people will enjoy just having the ability to see a fire truck and sit in a fire truck and just learn more about what the fire department does for them," she said.