Fire captain transforms old helmets into works of art

Danville Fire Captain Billy Scearce has created 400 pieces of art out of retired fire helmets

By FireRescue1 Staff

DANVILLE, Va. — A veteran fire captain has found a way to turn retired fire helmets into lasting pieces of art.

WSET reported that 30-year Danville Fire Department veteran Captain Billy Scearce has refurbished more than 400 fire helmets, which he has been collecting since 1987.

Capt. Scearce was inspired to create art out of the helmets after seeing a New York Jets helmet 15 years ago.

"Kind of take them, strip them down and give them new life," he said. "I never realized it was going to be such a big hit.”

The helmet art is designed by Capt. Scearce and then airbrushed by his partner, Jimmy Presley. He charges around $300, which pays for the helmet and painting equipment.

The first helmet Capt. Scearce made was for his chief officer.

"I did him a Harley Davidson helmet and gave it to him as a gift, and he still loves that helmet," he said.

Capt. Scearce now gets orders from all over the country, most of which are requests for sports team logos.

He said his favorite designs, however, are in remembrance of 9/11. 

"The 9/11 helmets [are my favorite] because I actually worked during 9/11 and know a lot of those New York firefighters and it's just got a lot of meaning behind it," he said.


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