The moment senior associate producer Ray Dotch will never forget involved Hollywood leading man John Travolta. After playing the role of a firefighter in Ladder 49,
John wanted to surprise two real-life heroes, firemen Phil and Kenny, at their Detroit firehouse. "I planned this shoot out to a tee," Ray says. "I had synchronized watches, and we had charts and graphs and maps and code words and all kinds of things to insure that nothing could possibly go wrong. I had thought of every single thing except for one...a real fire."
Rather than surprising the firefighters, it was Ray and John who were shocked when the alarms went off and fire trucks started flying out of the firehouse doors. "We just stand there on the streets of Detroit and wait for them all to come back," Ray says. "Eventually they do, but it certainly was a heart-beating moment."