Firehouses upgrade from standard issue tissue

Firehouses upgrade from standard issue tissue

North Cumberland Fire District's Chris Smith, center, took part in a contest that promised to bring one year's worth of free Charmin toilet tissue to the firehouse. Not only did Smith win 48 cases of tissue for the department, he was quoted in press releases nationwide. With Smith are fire fighters Ryan Haney, left, and Tim Bowe. (Valley Breeze Photo by Tom Ward)

CUMBERLAND - As they ready to merge all their supplies and equipment, firefighters in the town's four districts can now add toilet paper to the list.

Nine hundred and sixty rolls of Charmin will be split four ways, says North Cumberland Firefighter Chris Smith, after the Proctor & Gamble Co. picked his district as the single Rhode Island winner of all that bathroom tissue.

Smith, a 22-year firefighter with North Cumberland, admits he may be living with the "Mr. Whipple" nickname for the rest of his life.

"I'm squeezably soft," he told The Breeze last week, happy to turn the joke on himself after penning the Facebook comment that not only earned all the toilet paper, but put his name on the national press release Charmin issued about the giveaway.

Smith says the UPS driver couldn't imagine what was contained in the carton after carton that he delivered to the North Cumberland Fire Station last week.

Forty-eight cases of rolls of toilet paper was pretty much his last guess.

Smith won the TP when he described how its soft touch made the fire station feel a bit more like home.

Charmin says it had asked firefighters to share stories via Facebook and Twitter about firehouses in their communities that were experiencing sub-par bathroom conditions and in need of relief. It then picked one in each state that could use the extra support.

Charmin's announcement says America's firefighters "put their behinds on the line day in and day out, to keep their communities safe, and they wanted to do something to help this much loved but often underfunded group of public servants."

Smith had written: "My firehouse is my home away from home and where my extended family lives in good times and bad. It is awesome to know that Charmin cares enough not only to think about us, but also to try and make us more comfortable. In really hard times, our firehouse serves to keep our taxpayer family safe, too, especially when they have lost their first home. Helping us helps them when they need it most."

The Mr. Whipple reference by Smith recalls the commercial character, a grocery store manager, who admonished shoppers, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin," from 1964 to 1985.

With advertising less coy these days, Charmin's using the slogan "enjoy the go," while proclaiming "we're starting a new movement," as it unabashedly references the reason its product is used.

Charmin claims to have been America's most popular toilet paper for more than 25 years.