Firefighters help Santa after car fire

Steven Macey, right, a Santa-for-hire, from Orem, Utah gives a big hug to firefighter Capt. Danny Campbell after fire crews extinguished a fire on Macey’s vehicle on Friday, Dec. 25, 2015 near Alpine, Utah. Firefighters called to the car fire in the Utah suburb got a big surprise early Christmas morning when they discovered the stranded driver turned out to be Santa Claus on the way to deliver presents. (Lt. Dustin Mitchell/Lone Peak Fire District via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A stranded Santa Claus whose car caught fire Christmas morning is sure to put one northern Utah fire department on his nice list next year.

Steven Macey, a Santa-for-hire dressed in a red suit and beard, was on his way to deliver presents at a home when his car overheated and caught fire around 6:30 a.m. Friday, according to Lone Peak Fire Battalion Chief Battalion Chief Joseph McRae.

Macey was not injured and called 911. Firefighters were surprised when they found St. Nick, McRae said. Fire crews extinguished the blaze, but the car was destroyed.

“He’s going to have to go back to using his sleigh,” McRae said.

Macey has been portraying Santa for decades and was on his way to an appointment at a home in Alpine, a city about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, McRae said. The battalion chief gave Macey a ride.

“You can’t leave Santa stranded on the side of the road,” he said.

After the Santa suit-clad Macey delivered presents to the child, he had someone pick him up from the Alpine home, McRae said.

A message left with Macey on Friday was not immediately returned.

McRae said he’s worked many holidays but has never had the chance to rescue a Santa Claus.

“It kind of makes it a little more enjoyable to do something like this,” he said. “We’re just glad that he could get out and make the call and then continue on his last little trip there.”

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