Hilton Head firefighters' haunted house back from grave; the terror begins Friday

info@islandpacket.comOctober 18, 2012 

Firefighter Shane Marstiller of the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division, gives volunteers Margaret Weber, center, and Amanda Millington a tour of the haunted house Tuesday in Pineland Station on Hilton Head Island.


  • The Hilton Head Firefighters' Association Haunted House will open at 7 p.m. Friday. It also will be open Saturday; Tuesday through Oct. 27; and Oct. 30. Adults get in for $7 and kids for $5. Proceeds benefit local charities such as Programs for Exceptional People and the Hilton Head Humane Association.

There is young blood in a Hilton Head Island haunted house.

A new generation has resurrected the fundraiser for the Hilton Head Firefighters' Association after nearly a decade.

The haunted house, which opens today, was once a signature event for the nonprofit association that raises money for charity, according to its president, Capt. Chad McRorie of the Town of Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division.

It died out as volunteers got older and too busy for the enormous undertaking. Creating a haunted house with enough thrills and chills was "very manpower-demanding for a small organization like ours," McRorie said.

Now, an energetic group of younger firefighters who have been brainstorming for six months is ready again to terrify residents.

Their paranormal project in donated space at Pineland Station will be open for eight nights of fright.

"We are back," said Firefighter Shane Marstiller, the leader of this year's project. "And we're going to give people a good solid scare that is worth their money."

Marstiller, who has been with the division for four years, said he heard from older firefighters about past haunted houses and thought, "Man, we've got to do that again."

He and others began soliciting building materials, props, volunteers and a space to house them all.

The location donated by Pineland Station turned out to be eerily perfect: It's unit 113 and has 13 rooms. By now, after 250 hours contributed by about 30 volunteers, each room is filled with grisly surprises.

Though the house is informally rated PG-13, Marstiller said, glow sticks will be handed out to younger thrill-seekers so ghosts and goblins don't jump out at them as they walk through.

One of the costumed actors lurking behind corners will be Senior Firefighter Nick Pfeifer, a self-described "experienced scarer" as a result of practical jokes and pranks at the fire station.

"We mess with each other around the station, as well, so in a sense it's not really that different -- we're just messing with a lot more people," Pfeifer said.

McRorie said the firefighters who have taken over the project are a creative bunch with good judgment.

"These rooms are original ideas because the guys involved now weren't involved back then," McRorie said. "It's a time frame when a lot of guys are retiring, and now we have a significant number of younger guys.

"It's good for the organization because it brings in new blood, new excitement and new people who want to be involved."

Follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/LCBlotter.

Related content:

Hilton Head Firefighters' Association


How to make a house of horrors, Oct. 15, 2012


Port Royal home becomes a haunted house, Oct. 31, 2009


Quintessentially Lowcountry: Area ghosts don't just wait for Halloween, Oct. 30, 2009


Key words: haunted house, paranormal, Hilton Head Firefighters' Association, nonprofit, charity, fundraiser, Pineland Station, firefighters, young, old, event, fright, Capt. Chad McRorie, Shane Marstiller, Nick Pfeifer, Halloween

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