Firebag MTL turns firefighter suits into bow-ties and duffel bags
A Montreal company is putting the ash in fashion.
Firebag MTL recycles firefighters' outfits, known as bunker suits, into clothing and backpacks.
Those suits are replaced every ten years.
Over that time, they get dirty with ash, burn marks, and other debris.
Firebag MTL, which was started by two active firefighters, repurposes and sells them, with some of the proceeds going to a foundation for fire victims.
"It totally changed the perception of what I'm wearing," said Mathieu Larouche-Fortin, a co-founder of Firebag MTL.
"I used to see it only as a work jacket, and now it's kind of a fashion statement."
The first step is cleaning the soot-filled suits.
The company washes them in a machine with a special soap.
Then, the heavy material is cut up with scissors that are sharpened daily.
Finally, the suit is sewn back together into anything from bow-ties to duffel bags.
Many of the customers are fellow firefighters.
"I'm probably going to make something for my little boy," said Larouche-Fortin.
"For Louis Antoine, to see what his father is doing and see what the end of a lifetime of bunker gear is."