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Red Bluff firefighter returns home to spend Christmas with newborn son

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RED BLUFF, Calif. - When Red Bluff firefighters left a few weeks ago to battle the Thomas Fire in Southern California, they weren't sure if they would make it home by Christmas. 

As it turns out for one firefighter, making it home ahead of the holiday is only part of the celebration this year. He'll be able to enjoy Christmas at home with his newborn son. 

Ray Barber, Chief of the Red Bluff Fire Department, explained how coming home before Christmas was a surprise to them and their families. 

"We were not anticipating them to make it back before Christmas, but they did," Barber said. "It's a gift in itself."

Barber was particularly happy to get firefighter Uriah Harris home. In the midst of smoke and flames from the Thomas Fire, Barber said Harris went down to the beach to Facetime his wife at the hospital during the birth of their baby boy. Harris arrived the next day to meet his son. 

"The engine pulled in and he was gone, which is good," Barber said. "That's the way we wanted it."

The Harris family was released Thursday afternoon from Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in Red Bluff.

The Thomas Fire presented a challenge for Red Bluff firefighters, pulling whatever duty was needed.

"Firefighters were on structure protection one day and they'd go out to the fire line the next," Barber said. "They were pretty exhausted when they got home last night."

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