Matt Jacobsen took some time to be interviewed with FireBricks. One of my personal favorite builders, it was Matt’s unique apparatus that were the building blocks for designs.
Tell us about yourself. Who is Matt Jacobsen? Matt Jacobsen is pretty much your average joe! I have always been involved in the emergency services since I turned 16. I am currently a volunteer firefighter with the Rochelle Park Volunteer FD, and I am employed as a police officer with the Hackensack PD. I live in Bergen County, NJ and have lived here my whole life. When I was 18 I served in the US Navy on board the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. So pretty much I am a blue collar guy who lives to serve my country and community!
How did you get started with lego and how long have you been building? Did you have a Dark Age? I got started with Lego when I was a kid. Probably when I was 7. My father used to build lego fire trucks from scratch. We would go to the toy stores and buy sets just for the pieces. My dad would then put them together, and of course when I played with them, I would destroy them. Since then I have always been involved with Lego. When I was in the navy I couldnt build, so for almost 4 years there was nothing. But after the navy I was hardcore into Lego again.
Any other hobbies to speak of? I have been involved in different hobbies in the past, but currently I am really only involved with Lego.
Any lego groups and forums are you a part of? I am a member of the Lego Metro Fire District, County 60 Command and the Sixby Fire Group.
What made you want to focus your lego building to fire related mocs? My father for the most part. I always wanted to be a firefighter since I was a kid. And I wanted to create my own trucks like my dad used to do.
Do you create anything else besides fire related mocs? Currently not really. Just buildings for incidents. I used to build military units when I was in middle school. But now I just focus on fire related creations.
How much time do you spend devoted to the lego hobby? Recently I have been so busy with life that I have had no time to spend on the hobby. In my "glory days" I would spend a good amount of time a week creating new rigs or incidents.
Tell us about the City of Jakeland.
-What’s in the name? I came up with the name Jakeland because my nickname in the navy was "Jake the Snake". And my lego fire department before I was in the navy was named Legoland. So I just combined the old with the new and the name stuck!
-What was your inspiration for Jakeland FD? Pretty much my love for firefighting and Lego! I wanted to create my own department and use my creativity to have a unique department that would be realistic.
-Was there a real life fire department that you follow for structure? At first it was mostly the FDNY. But as I have gained more and more experience as a firefighter, it is based on how fire departments in my area of NJ operate.
-How long have you been building your department? Since 2005 I would say.
It was originally 4 wide until 2007.
It was originally 4 wide until 2007.
-What is the future of Jakeland? Well right now Jakeland is being downsized due to me getting married and not being able to commit any money to the hobby for a while. Since I have ignored my rigs they have become dirty, some are broken and some have missing pieces. So my plan is to downsize and be able to manage my rigs better.
What advice can you give the probie’s and those who look up to you as inspiration? I always say quality is better than quantity. You could have the biggest lego fire department in the world, but if all the rigs look like a 1 year old put them together, what good is it? Its better to have a nice small department and create several rigs that are the best you have to offer. As your skills get better and your stock of pieces grow you could always improve.
What future projects or goals do you have in mind? I want to get Jakeland back on track and my other department Rochelle Heights. After that I dont know, I have another department in mind I might create some day. We will see.
As a long server member to the fire community, what would you like to see more of? And for that matter, less of? I would like to see more incidents! Only a handful of people create incidents. But I understand, not a lot of guys have the pieces or the time. I would like to see less fighting. For a while there seemed like there was nothing but fights between builders. Just have fun!