10:30am PT by Chris Gardner
How Harrison Ford Showed Respect to Local Los Angeles Firefighters
This story first appeared in the March 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
When Harrison Ford crashed his vintage WWII plane on a Westside golf course in March 2015, he was rescued by local firefighters, who were among the first to arrive on the scene.
The veteran actor and pilot is still so grateful for the work of the uniformed men and women of the fire service that he agreed to star in a PSA for the Los Angeles Area Regional Training Group, an offshoot of the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association, which represents 31 fire departments in the greater Los Angeles metro.
The group provides training for the region (to help with catastrophic events like natural disasters and terrorist attacks), and in an effort to let its firefighters and the public know that online training programs are available, they enlisted Ford to help them out. One of the fire captains, Sean Escontrias of the Regional Training Group, is friends with a close friend of Ford’s — Helen’s Cycles owner Jay Wolff — who made the request and pulled it together for Regional Training Group executive director Jim Burrell.
“He was enthusiastic and really cool and said, ‘Whatever you guys need,’” explains Fire Captain Josh Binder. “He’s a friend of the fire department since what he calls his ‘golf accident,’ and he feels fondly toward us. It’s generous of him to help us out.”
To return the favor, the fire chiefs hosted a banquet for Ford on Feb. 11 in Long Beach at the local airport where they debuted the PSA and presented Ford with a special plaque. Binder added that Ford traveled to and from the event by piloting his private helicopter.
“It was pretty cool to see," Binder adds.
As for the PSA, the Star Wars star makes it clear that he’s still a fan of the fireman. “Thank you for taking the time to train together and your commitment to all of us, whenever and wherever we may need you,” he says.