NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – It’s no secret that firefighters can really cook. The kitchen is the heart of any firehouse.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story

“This is our home away from home,” said one firefighter.

“It’s our everything. It’s our day room, our kitchen. We spend 95 percent of our time here,” said another.

“They do everything from jambalaya, chili, taco lasagna,” Lt. Joseph Beltrani at the FDNY’s Squad 61 in the Bronx told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

“Taco lasagna?” queried Adams.

“It’s a specialty in this firehouse,” said Beltrani.

But making taco lasagna has been a real challenge in the old kitchen where the cabinets are a sickly shade of yellow.

“I think it looks good enough because the guys do clean it, but a lot of stuff’s rusted out,” said Beltrani.

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

RELATED: More Stories From Main Street

In a budget crunch, new cabinets are not a priority.

But here’s a glimmer of hope: a contest.

IKEA will do a $25,000 makeover and you can vote at

Yonkers Engine 306 is also in the running.

Engine 306  - Yonkers, NY - Feb 9, 2012 (credit: Sean Adams / WCBS 880)

Engine 306 - Yonkers, NY - Feb 9, 2012 (credit: Sean Adams / WCBS 880)

“Rats, mice, bugs, drafts from open holes to the outside, water leaks, open soffits, no venting,” said firefighter P.J. Goldfetter.

Having no oven vent could have been deadly.

“Not too long ago, six firefighters had to be taken to the hospital for really high levels of C.O. in their blood,” Goldfetter told Adams.

By their nature, firefighters don’t gripe. They make do. Goldfetter says all five firehouses in this contest are worthy and this is a friendly competition.

“It really is our hope to get this message out to everyone in the country that firefighters across the nation are living like this,” said Goldfetter.

If they win in Yonkers, the first meal will be a tribute to IKEA.

“Maybe we’ll make some Swedish meatballs in their honor,” said Goldfetter.

The other competing firehouses are in Illinois, California, and Oregon.

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