The Los Angeles County Fire Department welcomed 8-year-old Noah Cohen to its ranks Friday.
Noah, a resident of Vermont, was born with a rare series of birth defects known as VACTERL association that prevent his organs from functioning properly. In his short life, he’s undergone two dozen surgeries and spent countless hours in operating rooms and other areas of hospitals.
It was during these hospital stays that Noah got hooked on Emergency!, the television show from the 1970s that featured the Department. During the hours spent watching Fire Fighter Paramedics John Gage and Roy De Soto, Noah decided that his dream was to one day become a first responder in the Los Angeles area.
“Emergency! helped him get through his illness,” said Rich Brown of Make A Wish.
With some help from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Department—along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles City Fire Department—made Noah’s wish come true.
The County Fire Department brought him to Fire Station 127, the exterior of which was transformed into Fire Station 51 for the television show.
According to Noah’s mother, Amy Cohen, her son knew where he was as soon as the stretch limo turned into the driveway.
“He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Station 51!’” she said.
About three dozen firefighters met the Cohens at the station, and after a round of fist bumps with personnel, Noah watched the app bay doors open to reveal the real Engine 51 and Squad 51 from the television show.
He was speechless.
By the end of his visit, Noah had taken a ride on both Engine 51s and Squad 51; received a challenge coin from acting Chief Deputy David Richardson; been given tons of Department and Emergency! memorabilia; and taken the “51” magnets from one of the engines.
The visit wasn’t just special for Noah—several of the firefighters were excited, too.
“This is a highlight,” said Fire Fighter Specialist Wayne Shimabukuru, who said he used to ride his bicycle down to Fire Station 127 to watch crews film Emergency! “We can finally see what we’re giving … We’re role models.”
Noah’s time at “Fire Station 51” was his second-to-last stop on a two-day whirlwind tour of Los Angeles County and City emergency facilities. On Wednesday, he met the LAX airport police and firefighters; on Thursday, he visited the Los Angeles Police Department; and on Friday morning, he spent time at the Los Angeles City Fire Department’s Drill Tower.
His next stop Friday afternoon was the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“This is a tremendous (wish),” Brown said. “It’s been an incredible two days … everything we could possibly want.”
Photo gallery: Noah Cohen visits Fire Station 127 in Carson. Photos by Nicole Mooradian.