First responders work Christmas Day and holiday to keep communities safe

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va – A day like Christmas is about coming together with family members and friends but not all first responders can do so because they have to keep working to protect their communities.

That was the case for firefighters on duty at Morgantown Fire Station 3, who worked a 24-hour Christmas Day shift, ensuring the safety of their community.

Firefighter William Lyons is one of those who was on duty and said he will also be working on New Year’s Day as well. Lyons said they had been lucky because the day started off nice and quiet and that he was hoping it would continue that way so nobody has a bad Christmas.

“Just another day at work,” Lyons said. “Everyone wants to be home with their families but someone has to be here so here we are hoping everybody else is having a good day.”

The recently married Lyons said his wife understands his duty to his work because she is a soldier and as a result, they both have to miss a lot of events. He described it as not being a big deal but for his lieutenant Patrick Pickenpaugh it was different.

Pickenpaugh said he has been a firefighter for 22 years, in which time he has worked about five Christmases.

“It’s still hard,” Pickenpaugh said. “My son is 15 now, we learn to adjust and he’s been able to deal with it because I’ve been in the service since he was born. We either do our holidays the day before or the day after.”

This year he said they celebrated Christmas Eve with a meal in the early afternoon and then they opened presents at 1:30 a.m. Then, Pickenpaugh said, he woke up, did his normal morning routine and left for work.

Lyons also said he celebrated the day before with family and both men agreed that their fellow firefighters make spending Christmas on-duty easier. They don’t feel alone Pickenbaugh said because their crew is fabulous and really close.

“It’s nice to know that there are people out there that are willing to step up and help people when they need it, no matter what time of year it is, no matter the conditions are outside,” Pickenpaugh said. “There’s not only fire department working, there’s EMS services, the police department, people at the hospital, there are a lot of people that work the holidays, sometimes they’re overlooked but when I’m off for the holidays and I’m not here with the job I think about those people as well and I just hope everybody enjoys their holidays.”

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