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When it comes to chili cooking competitions, Doug Grimmer might have an unfair advantage. The firefighter is the house cook at the Bowmansville Volunteer Fire Company, where he’s made firehouse chili for his buddies any number of times.

But he’s still going to take on 15 or more competitors at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Barn Burnin’ Chili Cookoff at the Lt. Col. Matt Urban VFW Post 7275 (3741 Walden Ave., Lancaster, 681-8387).

It’s free to come in and eat chili, but the cooks will ask for donations toward a new Boys & Girls Club for Depew and Lancaster, after the former building was destroyed by fire. “Everybody around here is raising money for this, because it’s a good cause,” Grimmer said. “It’s for the community. Anything for the community, that’s what I’m into.”

Grimmer has been part of the Bowmansville department for more than 20 years. “After we go out and practice and drill, we all go down to the club room and have something to eat,” he said. He won’t say what his entry will contain, however. “I’m just going to tell you I’m making firehouse chili. I’m not going to indulge in my ingredients, just tell you there’s a little fire in it.”

Just because he’s the firehouse cook doesn’t mean he’s a shoo-in, though. “I’m going to have a lot of tough competition, I know that,” said Grimmer. “I got some buddies who are pretty mean cooks, so it should be a hoot.”

– Andrew Z. Galarneau