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Christmas at the fire station

Firefighters in Little Rock, saddened over the shooting of 4 of their own Christmas Eve, consider themselves lucky to be able to return home to their families.
Firefighters in Little Rock, saddened over the shooting of 4 of their own Christmas Eve, consider themselves lucky to be able to return home to their families.

Those working at the Little Rock Central Fire Station say even though Christmas is a holiday for everyone else, it’s just a typical work day for them.

The crew working Christmas at the Central Station just waits for a call. Firefighter Jonathan Nunley says it’s been an unusually slow holiday. “We haven't had a run so far today, but that's part of the job. You never know what you're going to get.” Melissa McInturff says the volume of calls down is unheard of. “We're one of the busiest stations in the city."

But not far from their minds, they’re thinking about the 4 firefighters who went out on a call near Rochester, NY and didn't return to the station. Nunley says knowing they're not going to be going home to their families for the holidays just reminds him you never know what you're going to get when the bell goes off.

Battalion Chief Gene Etheridge says he can't imagine what it must be like to have to deliver that news to their families. “That’s my biggest fear in my position is one of my personnel not being able to go home and me having to tell that family." Etheridge says he hopes the community realizes their job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “We also have families at home with little ones who get up in the morning for Santa Claus. When my kids were little, we had Santa Claus on a day earlier or a day later. It's just part of growing up in the fire department. In public service, when it's your day to work, you show up for work."

Their training and commitment to the job means they run into dangerous situations when others need help. McInturff says they’ve all come to terms they could be killed in the line of duty. “There’s no telling if we'll die in a fire, but to get shot at a fire, I've never even considered that." McInturff says her commitment and passion for the job is the reason she gets up every morning."

It's a service and sacrifice they signed up for knowing they'll be spending the holidays away from their loved ones. Nunley says it’s just part of the job. “This is our second family. Then we'll go home and celebrate with our real families." He says he enjoys what he does whether it's on the holidays or just another Monday. “It's something we enjoy."
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