San Diego

SDFD Firefighter to Highlight ‘Spirit of the Barrio' at Demolition Derby

Fire crews around San Diego County are getting ready for the annual Firefighter Demolition Derby to benefit the Burn Institute, and one first-timer is using the event to highlight his station's neighborhood.

The competition is still a few months away, but one firefighter from San Diego’s Station 7, is already hard at work on his car.

The 28th Annual Fire & Safety Expo and Firefighter Demolition Derby on June 2 will be San Diego Fire-Rescue (SDFD) firefighter Joe Pellegrini’s first time participating in the derby, but his job gives him the special ability to adapt to any challenge.

"We do crazy things every day, situations we’ve never been in before. You always have to adapt and overcome," Pellegrini said.

His derby car is an old Lincoln Town Car. While the event benefits charity, this year, it also gives Fire Station 7 an opportunity to highlight the arts and culture of their neighborhood: Barrio Logan.

"The theme of the car I’m doing is ‘Sprit of the Barrio,'" Pellegrini said.

He is hoping that making a car with a paint job that represents Barrio Logan, will give people a glimpse of what the neighborhood has to offer.

"It’s an art-protected district. There’s just gonna be more growth in this community so it’s cool for people who have never been down here to come down here and see what there is to experience down here," said Pellegrini.

Pellegrini used to go to demolition derbies as a child. Now he gets to combine his passion for helping people and for cars.

The Firefighter Demolition Derby is on June 2, during the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. If you want to help sponsor Joseph Pellegrini’s car, you can email him at or stop by Station 7 on 944 Cesar E. Chavez Parkway.

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