Wichita firefighters surprise four-year-old boy at birthday party

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) A four-year-old boy received the birthday party of a lifetime after Wichita firefighters made a surprise visit.

(Source: Wichita Fire Department)

Eli Pederson dresses in his bunker costume every day and loves playing firefighter. His father, Micah Pederson, says Eli wanted nothing more than to have real firefighters at his birthday party.

"Every time he asked, 'are they gonna come? are they gonna come?' I just told him, don't count on them coming, they're probably going to have a call and the number four truck for Eli who's turning four, came honking up the street," said Micah Pederson.

"So we were just cleared a call and so we were still in our gear. We're headed down the street and saw everybody sitting out in the front yard so we're able to identify which house it was and kind of turned on the lights and tooted the horn a couple times and his eyes got real big," said Jason Nelson, Wichita Fire Department Station 16.

Micah says even though it was nice to have a night all about Eli, it was also a great experience for her special needs foster children.

"We have a couple kids that are really scared of emergency personnel due to some special needs and experiences that they've had," said Micah.

She's grateful that the visit left the young kids with a positive impression of emergency responders.

"We look weird when we have all our stuff on and if a child's ever in a place in their home where they need to be rescued by us, the last thing we want them to do is to run. So building those relationships and that trust is crucial and I feel like we really hit the jackpot," said Nelson.

Eli's family was able to climb through the truck, touch the equipment and spend time getting to know their local firefighters.