AURORA, Colo. -- Firefighters usually respond to emergencies, but Sunday morning, an emergency came to them.
"Four in the morning, someone is banging on the back of the firehouse and it's not tragic. That was surprising," fire engineer Zac Varela said.
He said almost instantaneously, they got a call too so the alarm tones sounded. And crews were getting ready to head out.
"When I see the door come open, there’s a gold SUV on the ramp. I am thinking, ‘What idiot parked on the ramp at the firehouse?'" Varela said.
"23-year-old female is in labor. Her water broke and she's having contractions about one minute apart," a dispatcher said on the Radio Reference website.
Varela said the pregnant woman was in the passenger seat of the SUV whose mother was trying to soothe her.
Firefighters then laid the mom-to-be down on the lawn on top of a blanket.
"We are prepared to deliver this baby right on the front lawn. Fortunately, our ambulance pulled up at that time," Varela said.
And not a moment too soon.
"As soon as we picked her up, we heard that hiss, that 'whew' and they opened up," Varela said of the sprinkler system.
They saved her from a soaking and lifted her into the ambulance.
"She said, 'I have to push.' Our guy said, 'Go ahead.' And two pushes and we had a baby girl right there," Varela said.
Right there in a makeshift delivery room near a busy intersection of South Iliff Avenue and South Blackhawk Street.
"Baby was born in the wonderful neon lights of Firehouse 7 and Appleby's," Varela said.
The new mom is carrying on an uncommon family tradition.
"Grandma explained how almost 20 years to the day, the new mom was born in the back of an ambulance and delivered by Aurora firefighters," Varela said.
It’s a tradition that certainly upstages the traditional firefighter fodder of burning buildings and car accident carnage.
"We are really happy when we deliver a healthy baby. A lot of our calls don't always go that great," Varela said.
The baby girl was born at 4:22 a.m., not more than 10 minutes after mom and grandma arrived at the fire station, they were racing to make it to the hospital.
“Rather than giving birth on the freeway, I guess they chose our firehouse,” Varela said.
Mom and baby are doing just fine. For medical privacy reasons, firefighters couldn't give their identities.