Local News

Firefighters and their families celebrate Christmas

Posted December 25, 2008 9:58 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— On Christmas night, Raleigh's Fire Station 1 was the back drop for a holiday celebration. On-duty firefighters invited their families to spend time with them at the 220 South Dawson St. facility.

The firefighters cooked up a fest that included "spiral ham, string bean casserole, potato casserole,” Capt. Chris Wilson said.

The firefighters say they treat Christmas as just another day on the job – but one seasoned with cooking.

"I will let you try some and you can be the judge,” Capt. Bill Melina said of his holiday dishes.

The firefighters came on duty at 8 a.m. Thursday for a 24 hour shift.

“My family has made a lot of sacrifices,” Bill Melina said.

Melina's wife and two daughters came out for the Christmas celebration. His parents also traveled up from Florida to be at the fire station.

Tony Melina, Bill's father, was a firefighter in New Jersey 30 years ago.

"A real firefighter, a true firefighter doesn't see it as sacrifice, he sees it as a helpful hand,” Tony Melina said.

Christmas Day 2008 was a relatively quiet day for firefighters with no major calls in downtown Raleigh.

Instead of exchanging gifts between one another this Christmas, the firefighters adopted a needy family and gave to them.