“We try to make it as homey as possible” while spending Christmas away from their immediate families, Clapp said. “This is one of the things that comes with the territory. Our families know of the duties we serve.”
Firefighter Todd Lewis said he woke up his wife and 4-year-old daughter at 4:30 a.m. to celebrate Christmas before he went into work.
"She ran down the hallway. A little delayed reaction, I think, because of the lack of sleep," Lewis said. "I don't think she was ready to be awakened. But we had a good time."
Clapp said such sacrifices are necessary and show the commitment his firefighters have.
"It's more than just an 8-to-5 job," he said. "It's something we do. It's part of who we are."
While the clock wound down on their 24-hour shift, the firefighters always had the dispatch radio nearby and were ready to drop everything – including their Christmas feast – at a moment's notice.
"We're here to do that if the call arises," Clapp said.
Christmas Day 2007 was a relatively quiet day for firefighters. The Morrisville Fire Department had one call, while Wake County firefighters hit the streets six times.
Police officers were also hitting the streets, keeping them safe on Christmas.