FOREST LAKE, Minn.-It is prom season in Minnesota, where the best-laid plans of juniors and seniors can fall victim to Mother Nature.
When Saturday's blizzard hit, students at Forest Lake Area High School were left searching for a warm place to take prom photos. The Forest Lake Fire Department came to the rescue and organized an event that got its own hashtag: #BlizzardProm.
Firefighter Sean Thomas' wife, Alyssa, came up with the idea. "She thought it would be pretty cool if we opened up the venue to take photos," said Fire Chief Alan Newman. "My initial thought was: Who's going to want to take a prom picture next to a fire truck? I was wrong."
The prom was scheduled for the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul. When the roads started getting bad, school officials changed the venue to the high school. That's when the fire department decided to help out.
They posted a note on the Forest Lake Fire & Rescue's Facebook page around 2:20 p.m. that the fire station would be open for photos. "I called a couple of guys, and we quick tidied up the station," Newman said. "At 3 o'clock, I came and looked out the window that looks out at the parking lot, and there were 50 cars out there, and I went 'Uh-oh.' I got back on the phone and ended up calling some more guys and said, 'Hey, can you get up here?' "
Teens posed on fire trucks and with fire extinguishers. Some wore fire hats.
"A fun time had by all," Newman said. "It was cool to be part of their special day - and parents were happy. They really looked like they had a lot of fun as well."
The prom ended up being canceled because of the weather. It will be rescheduled for a later date.
Will posing for prom photos at the fire station become an annual event?
"We'll see," Newman said. "It's been pitched already on Facebook."