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Local catering business feeding hundreds of firefighters battling Front Fire

Glaze Barbeque owner Mike Glaze is unexpectedly working overtime this week. It’s all thanks to the Front Fire that’s burning east of Santa Maria.

“It was crazy,” said Glaze. “I was sitting at home watching TV on Sunday expecting to do nothing. Got a call out of the blue.”

The call asked him if he could provide catering services for hundreds of firefighters battling the 900-acre blaze.

“Thought it was going to be 250 (meals) for one day,” said Glaze, who has owned the Lompoc-based business for eight years. “It turned into 700 for three days with three meals, so it was a huge leap.”

Public information officer Bob Poole said Glaze was called because firefighting-related resources are stretched thin.

“There’s so many fires in California right now and the people that we normally depend on to provide the meals and other services are already committed,” said Poole. “We have national contracts that are set up through the year. Everybody is committed, but we still have take care of our firefighters. We go to local (resources) and in this case, a local caterer is helping us out and making terrific food.”

Once he received the call, Glaze jumped into action, with assistance coming from many different sources.

“It’s been amazing the outpouring of people when it comes to serving firefighters that you receive,” said Glaze. “It’s been Facebook posts, text messages, friends of friends, firefighters friends calling each other and saying, hey, we need help with this, all hands on deck and we’ve made it happen.”

In addition to community help, Glaze is receiving assistance from other Lompoc-area caterers, such as Island Mix’s and Big Truck Food.

“I can’t show enough gratitude for the help that I have received from the people that have helped me,” said Glaze.

Glaze added he has a staff of about 10 workers for the morning shift and another 15-to-20 for the nighttime. He’s also been working around the clock making sure all the work gets done.

“I’m on two hours sleep the last three days,” Glaze said. “I went home last night at midnight, slept til 2:30 a.m. and did it again.”

This is the first fire Glaze has provided catering services for. With the experience gained this week, he said he’ll be more than ready to provide meals for future fires.

“It’s one of the best feelings in the world that you can get,” said Glaze. “My father-in-law was a fire chief for years in Solvang. These guys, they’re out there and they come back just beat up, and being able to feed them and get them back nourished and back doing their job where they’re feeling good, it’s an amazing feeling.”

As of Wednesday morning, the Front Fire has burned 936 acres and is 61 percent contained.

Firefighters will continue to battle the fire for the next several days. Full contained is expected by Sunday, Aug. 26.

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