While most Red Deer residents were putting their turkey or hams into the oven on Christmas Day more than two dozen firefighters from the city and Red Deer County were on the job.
A fire alarm at the Bell store in Southpointe Common sent Red Deer Emergency Services crews to their trucks shortly before noon.
Fortunately, the store and others nearby were empty because of the holiday and no one was injured. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the Bell outlet.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation and a damage estimate was not yet available, said assistant deputy fire chief Matt White on Boxing Day.
The incident is just another example of why emergency, police and medical first responders must treat Christmas Day like any other on the calendar for the most part.
“You never know when a fire or an emergency is going to come in, so our folks are definitely working 24/7, 365. It gets highlighted at around this time during the holidays hen people are spending time with their families. But our folks at work and ready to respond like they are every day of the year.
“We responded to that call with our crew, who were on shift. We had our five stations fully staffed with fire and ambulance staff.
“When that call came in we had engines that were committed to other calls. Yesterday, was actually fairly busy. We had some alarm calls at a couple of different locations, then that fire at the Bell store came in.
“So, we actually leaned on our partnership with Red Deer County and they sent an engine to assist with that call.”
The city sent three engines and a ladder truck from Red Deer Emergency Services raced to the scene, soon joined by an engine crewed by Red Deer County paid on-call firefighters along with one of their utility vehicles.
“In addition to that, we called in some off-duty staff to cover stations while that was going on,” said White.
At its peak, there were more than two dozen firefighters, including seven from the county, on scene.
The county’s paid on-call firefighters are not typically in a fire station when they are notified.
“They were at home with family and they left their families to come and give us a hand, and we sure appreciate that,” he said.