First responders spend Christmas Eve protecting the Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For many of us, the holidays are a time to spend with family and enjoy one another's company.

But even though it's Christmas Eve, not everyone is fortunate enough to have the day off.

For firefighter specialist Brandon Griffith, the crew at Station 3 in Downtown Fresno has become his family away from home.

He's been fighting fires in Fresno for the past 14 years and says working holidays is just part of the gig.

"We took this job knowing that we were going to work holidays so the family gets used to it. The first couple of holidays you're away it's kinda hard, especially if you got kids. They don't understand it. But as you've been here a little longer they start to understand you might have to work the holidays," says Griffith.

Station 3 is the City's busiest firehouse - they typically see up to 20 calls a day - and they can come at a moment's notice.

We rode along as firefighters scurried into position to hit the siren for an apartment fire.

Racing through the streets of Downtown Fresno, we arrived in time to make sure everyone got out safely.

"Sometimes it can be long days and long nights but that's what we signed up to do. People like to come to this station because this is where a majority of the calls are," said firefighter Darrick Rossitt.

But it's not all fire and medical aid calls.

There's plenty of unseen work that goes into keeping the firehouse running.

Between everyday chores and equipment maintenance, the firefighters stay busy when they're not saving a life.

"We clean the toilets, mop the floors there's always something to do here. Clean the equipment... we also do training during the day just to keep up on our skills and that's doing it all in between calls."

It may not be the perfect holiday but the Captain has arranged for a family dinner for those crew members who are scheduled to work Christmas Day.

"We'll do a big lasagna dinner and we'll invite all the families and they'll come down with their kids and we'll eat together because we're a family here," said Griffith. "We're here for the citizens of Fresno when they need us and hopefully they won't need us this holiday and they'll have a nice holiday themselves but if they do we're here."
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