The Carbondale Fire Department costumed Dalmatian Mascot, Sparky, makes numerous appearances throughout the year to educate the young children in Carbondale. Sparky is always in attendance at the Carbondale Fire House open house to have picture buttons made with the visiting children.
Live Dalmatians began their use as fire dogs in France in the late 1800's. Dalmatians got along with horses extremely well and were used to run in front of the horse drawn steam engines to alert pedestrians and other horse drawn apparatus of the approaching fire wagons. They have continued as the official fire mascot throughout the years. Numerous departments have Dalmatians kept at the stations to preserve this tradition.