Fire Crews Working on Christmas Day

The fire crew from Station 1 was running lights and sirens on Christmas Day because there were reports of two men overdosing at a house on the 1500 block of Winnebago.

Larry Hartnett, a 24-year veteran, was behind the wheel, and got them to the scene quickly. It was their only call of the day, and fortunately it turned out to be a false call.

Aside from that call, the fire crew at Station 1 did a whole lot of sitting and waiting. There were not many calls for service in that part of town on Christmas Day. The firefighters had the trucks cleaned and equipment ready, just in case.

Hartnett said he has only had to work on Christmas Day a handful of times over the years, but he has always been able to depend on his family to be understanding.

"I've always been pretty fortunate," Hartnett said. "My family has always respected the fact that I have needed to work when scheduled, and they've always worked around my schedule, so I'm pretty lucky that they've done that."

Walter Garcia has been on the force for five years, and was also on holiday duty. He has a wife and young kids at home.

"Basically, the kids opened the gifts yesterday, so we kind of already knew and we played a joke on them yesterday," Garcia said. "I pretended to answer a phone call from the chief and say, 'Oh guys, guess what? I'm actually off tomorrow,' and they went, 'No, we have to wait until tomorrow to open the presents?' So they were actually bummed about it. They didn't take it the way I wanted."

While his joke may have backfired a bit, he did enjoy the time with his family, and they were on his mind on Christmas Day.

"Enjoy your time with your family. We're around the holidays. Don't take life for granted. Don't take what you have for granted. We see all kinds of things; people dying young," Garcia said. "So be happy and cheerful, and joyful for what you have."


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