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Firefighters working on Christmas

CHAMPAIGN -- Even though many people got to take a break from school and work, some didn't have that luxury. 
CHAMPAIGN -- Even though many people got to take a break from school and work, some didn't have that luxury.

When you think about Christmas, you probably think of eating food and doing fun things with your family. The firefighters we spoke with got to do a little of that. Not with their regular families, but with their other brothers.

Firefighters were making dinner while Christmas movies played in the background. But they wouldn't share a table with their wives and children.

"It's harder to be here and not with my family," said Mike King. "But I've worked more than one Christmas here and this is probably the second best place to be, with my other family."

The Champaign firefighters were scheduled to work starting at 7 AM on Christmas morning. During their 24-hour shift, they have to be ready for anything.

"After time, you learn how to cook things that you can pull off quickly and get out the door because our goal is to get out the door in under a minute," said Carrol Whitehouse.

And they did twice on Tuesday afternoon. Each time they came back and picked up where they left off.

"Your family gets used to it," said Whitehouse. "We kind of try to look out for each other and help each other get through the holidays so everybody has a good experience."

Some celebrated on Christmas Eve instead and others have plans for later in the week. But for the day, they relied on each other to keep the holiday spirit alive.

"We know each other pretty well," said Whitehouse. "We know how to tease each other and give each other a hard time to get through holidays and we try to make the most of it and had a good time."

"You just have to make your own holiday," said King. "It's not about the day. It's about what the day stands for and about being with family so you do that however you can."

The firefighters said they're used to getting calls for burnt Christmas dinners and things like that. But they get less calls from the University of Illinois since the students are out of school. 
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