Mississippi firefighters’ lip sync video is competing on reality TV, but it’s not really about fire

They didn’t start the fire, and they say you shouldn’t either. That’s the message behind the Booneville Fire Department’s lip sync video to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

“We’re not talking about starting actual fires, we’re talking about the tension in America” said Fire Inspector Bryan Westbrook with the Booneville Fire Department.

“We want to urge everyone to become better people so we can become a better country.”

They created the video as part of the #LipSyncChallenge, a way for first responders to engage with their communities by creating lip sync music videos.

Now, it’s much bigger than just a fun YouTube video. The video has received national attention from “Lip Sync to the Rescue” on CBS.

The show is “an interactive countdown special where viewers vote for their favorite video of performances featuring first responders channeling their inner pop stars and lip-syncing to hit music,” according to the website.

Westbrook said he didn’t know the video would become so popular among the hundreds of other videos.

“We made the video last August and we really didn’t even know CBS was interested until they contacted our mayor a month ago.”

Trevor George, who is from Booneville, was the producer and creative director of the video. He said it was such an honor to create this video for his hometown.

“Working with these men and women who give their life daily for those in their community was humbling, especially because many of them are volunteers,” said George.

“After spending three full days and nights with these guys, I captured more than just a lip sync challenge video, I saw how they interacted in their community and with their families.”

He says “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was the perfect song to encourage peace and change.

“Greg and Aneshia Davis (the fire captain and his wife) approached me with this idea of shooting a lip sync video and this song just made sense for many reasons. We wanted to educate the younger generation, that has probably never heard of this song and lean in on how we have always lived in a world with these major events the song talks about, and it has somewhat changed the way we live today.”

George says he hopes every time someone watches the video, they think of the selflessness of first responders.

“These first responders spend their time serving their community and don’t have the time to battle against one another, so maybe that’s the biggest call to action, learn to serve one another selflessly and keep putting out fires.”

Booneville Fire Dept. is in the top 30. They need your vote so they can make it to the top 10. The top 10 videos will be revealed during the show.

Two videos will advance to the live vote during the broadcast to crown a winner. The show will be hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

“We hope the entire state takes the time out to vote for us. It would be great to see a video from Booneville, MS win a national competition. I believe we can do it,” said Westbrook.

You can vote for the video on the CBS website.

Britneé Davis is McClatchy’s South Region Digital Producer. The south region includes the Sun Herald, the Telegraph, and the Ledger-Enquirer.