An inside look at how on-duty AFD firefighters spend Christmas

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of first responders are on call while most folks have the day off for the holidays in Central Texas. That includes members of the Austin Fire Department.

“We will put up lights on the holidays sometimes,” said Hunter Bagent as he walks up to the second story of Austin’s Fire Station One. It’s his second Christmas working as an Austin firefighter. He’ll spend the night over at Station One as part of a noon-to-noon, twenty-four-hour shift. On Christmas, most of his co-workers will be in the kitchen.

“We’re doing a big meal. We have a turkey. And we’re also doing ham and some other stuff. I’d say this is probably the most important part of the station,” said Bagent.

Fifteen members of the Austin Fire Department will wait for calls this shift. Most of the calls will be for medical reasons but they never know when that big Christmas fire could start.

“People who call 9-1-1 don’t really care what day it is,” said Bagent.

They have leftover presents from Austin’s Operation Blue Santa in their media room, workout equipment ready to use and fire engines and ladder trucks ready to move out.

“People are usually really nice to us all the time but even more so during holidays people will come by and say thank you and drop stuff off and it will make you feel pretty good,” said Bagent.

When a call comes, they’ll slide down the fire pole from the upstairs dorms and kitchen into the garage.

Around 2 p.m., a respiratory call comes in. Hunter and Fire Engine 13 drives off into Austin on a Christmas call.

Hunter isn’t missing out on Christmas completely. His mom brought a present by with his dog: some extra cash heading into the new year.

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