#BlizzardProm! Local fire department open its doors for prom photos during storm

Tanya Edwards

A blizzard on prom night? Pretty rare, but unfortunately for teenagers in Minnesota on Saturday night, a reality. The historic blizzard saw snow falling at 1 to 2 inches per hour and 50 mph wind gusts creating whiteout conditions. Flights were grounded. It’s a mess.

Now imagine trying to celebrate your special night in formalwear in that weather. Oh, and don’t forget that those photos taken on parents’ front lawns or at the local park are pretty much not happening.

Fortunately for kids in Forest Lake, Minn., their local fire department stepped in with a unique solution. They opened the doors of the fire station for local teens to take their prom photos.

Photo: Forest Lake Fire Department

In a post on their Facebook page, they announced they’d be opening their doors for three hours for the kids to get together and take photos.

Fire Chief Alan Newman told Yahoo Lifestyle the decision was an easy one to make. “After the snow level estimates changed from around 8 inches to more than 15 inches with anticipated whiteout conditions, the Forest Lake High School prom committee decided to move prom from St. Paul to the Forest Lake High School. At around 2 p.m. one of our firefighters called me to let me know about the change in venue and pitched the idea.” (The original idea came from his wife.)

Chief Newman admitted he was dubious. “My initial thought was, ‘Who is going to want to take a picture in their prom gear in front of a fire truck?’ After a phone call to one of city council members and to the city administrator, we opened the doors. When we opened the doors at 3 p.m. we had over 50 cars in our parking lot, and it just grew from there.”

Photo: Alan Newman, Forest Lake Fire Department
Photo: Alan Newman, Forest Lake Fire Department


The Forest Lake Fire & Rescue and some of the firefighters shared photos with Yahoo Lifestyle, and they are using the hashtag #blizzardprom. They’re adorable and so memorable.

Photo: Jill Graven
Photo: Jill Graven

Photo: Alan Newman, Forest Lake Fire Department

Jill Graven, who lives in Forest Lake was at the firehouse for the photos — her husband is a firefighter — told Yahoo Lifestyle, “The girls looked beautiful!” She explained that other “local businesses opened their doors for the promgoers to take pics. Forest Lake Fire Department hosted at least 200 promgoers for pictures.”

People loved it, leaving positive comments on the fire department’s Facebook page.

“You guys rock! I hope you do this every year, snow or no snow,” one woman wrote.

Another pointed out how memorable the moment was, writing, “Who else can say they had their prom pictures on a fire truck!!! Thank you!!!”

Unfortunately, according to some posts on Facebook, it appears the prom was ultimately canceled after several limos got stuck in the snow. One woman wrote, “Did you see that Prom got cancelled? Such a waste of good hair!” 

Graven confirmed the cancellation, which seemed like the safest move. “Washington County pulled all plows off the roads due to whiteout conditions at 7 p.m., causing the district to cancel prom … leaving students and their parents sad, frustrated, and angry. Especially after all the money and effort spent to get ready! Hopefully the school can make it up to them!”


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