(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) gave thanks and celebrated with each other and their family members on Thanksgiving.

“It’s so fun because our crews are like, a second family,” said Justin Cihak, Colorado Springs Firefighter. “So it’s a little bit of a bummer that we have to come away from our normal families. But majority of the time, they usually end up coming down and celebrating the day with us. So everybody together, it just makes for a fun day.”

Inside of Station 1, the kitchen was filled with firefighters cooking their signature dishes and watching football.

“Thanksgiving is special for guys like me who are not natives of Colorado, who we consider the fire family to be our family away from home,” said Michael Salas, Colorado Springs Firefighter.

A new addition to their day is inviting their family into the station to eat a Thanksgiving meal.

“It’s very, very special,” said Salas. “You know, my kids grew up in the firehouse and just hanging out with these guys another day and just sharing the holidays is really, really cool.”

In terms of what makes this Thanksgiving different than years past, Cihak said it’s being able to host their families after a few years of pandemic restrictions.

“This year is different because we are kind of getting back to the normal routine pre-pandemic,” said Cihak. “For a few years, families weren’t allowed to come to the station so that was a little bit of a bummer not being able to have that big family meal. And now we’re getting back to that routine. So, it’s nice that everyone’s going to be able to come back.”

Several items on the Thanksgiving menu include mac n’ cheese, cranberry sauce, ham, brisket, and vegetables. Cihak said he is “in charge of the ham and brisket.”

Although they are not celebrating at home, firefighters at Station 1 are creating their own Thanksgiving traditions.

“Having a seven-year-old daughter I know that she loves it,” said Cihak. “It’s something that not everybody gets to do. So, it’s definitely a different holiday routine.”

When asked what he is thankful for, Cihak replied, “I’m thankful for my family, our health, and then just having a good crew to be able to work with every day.”

A day filled with gratitude and surrounded by both new and old family.

“It’s amazing…my kids grew up in the firehouse. We grew up around these families as well,” said Cihak. “It’s just, it’s almost like I never left home.”