Insurance concerns will keep Santa Claus grounded this year in Springfield (FL).
“The liability factor of riding around on a fire truck, throwing candy and little kids running out, it puts the city in a bad position,” said Mayor Ralph Hammond. “First of all it’s illegal to ride a fire truck while it is moving.”
Hammond said the traditional “Santa Ride,” in which one commissioner drove a fire truck around town while Santa sat on top and threw out candy, has been around for years, but this year the city will replace it with Santa hearing wishes and handing out candy at the fire station.
Springfield Fire Chief Michael Laramore had requested the change, and commissioners approved it Monday during a workshop meeting. Laramore said it was only a matter of time before somebody was hurt during the event and he did not want it to be on his watch.
“We’ve really been lucky over the years nobody has gotten hurt on it,” Laramore said. “Knowing what we know now, not only is the city liable, I’m personally liable as head of the department and it is something that concerns me.”
Laramore said the “Santa Ride” usually cost about $4,000 to fuel the truck for the day and pay for candy to throw out all over town.
Commissioners agreed to have one or two days before Christmas where Santa would be stationary at the Springfield Fire Station. He would hand out bags of candy and hear Christmas wishes from children. Officials were not certain how much money would go toward candy but will be accepting donations.
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