Santa makes special delivery to family of Arizona firefighter hurt in explosion

The family of an Arizona firefighter hurt in April received a surprise visit from Santa on Friday.
The family of an Arizona firefighter hurt in April received a surprise visit from Santa on Friday.

The family of an Arizona firefighter injured this spring got an early visit from Santa Claus, who arrived at their home driving a Jeep with a toy-filled SUV in tow.

Justin Lopez was one of eight firefighters injured April 19 when a lithium battery exploded at a substation, KNXV reported. Lopez suffered chemical burns and internal injuries, KSAZ reported.

The road to recovery has been difficult for the Peoria firefighter, so the 100 Club of Arizona and VIP Mortgage teamed up to make Christmas merry for Lopez, his wife and seven children, according to KNXV.

“(Lopez is) our hero,” Santa told the children.

The two organizations annually team up to surprise a deserving first responder with a visit from Santa and his elves, KTVK reported.

“Everyone is progressing faster than anticipated. Everyone has ups and downs, but everyone (is) pretty happy with just being alive,” Lopez told the television station.

"I think you're stronger than you think you are," Lopez's wife, Sarah Lopez, told KNXV. "The community has been amazing. They all rally around us. This is another showing of how good our community is."

The Lopez family is grateful for the gifts, but are more thankful Justin Lopez is recovering.

"All things considered, I feel great and fortunate and blessed to be here today and not the other way around," Justin Lopez told KNXV.

“I think everything now has new meaning,” Sarah Lopez told the television station. “We don’t take life for granted, even him being at a recital or Thanksgiving. It’s amazing he’s here, and we appreciate it 10 times more.”

The children are grateful, too.

"I think it's important, 'cause this could have been different and we get my dad this Christmas. We could have not had my dad this Christmas, so that means a lot," daughter Aidann Lopez told KSAZ.

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