Firefighters at Tucson Fire Department say they see their workplace as family. For captains Crystal and Cyprian Ortiz, that sentiment happens to be true.

Crystal and Cyprian are siblings.

Crystal Ortiz had wanted to become a firefighter since she was a little girl. Her initial hesitation gave way when she thought her younger brother, Cyprian, would be a good fit. Cyprian credits his sister for guiding him into the position.

“This job has definitely brought us closer together,” said Crystal Ortiz. “Good times, bad times, he’s my person who understands what I’m going through.”

The siblings, who have worked together for about nine years, emphasize the empathy they share due to their common experiences in the field. Memories of being partners on the same truck further strengthen their bond.

However, Crystal acknowledges the challenges of working with family, recounting a particularly harrowing incident involving her brother.

A few years ago, there was that Irene Vista shooting that happened, and my brother was on that call, and just knowing what happened on that call, I almost lost my brother, she said.

Despite the difficulties, both captains express gratitude for their current positions.

“To get to the positions of captain, it wasn’t just us and the hard work we did. It takes a village,” Cyprian Ortiz said.

While the Ortiz siblings currently serve at separate fire stations, they occasionally find themselves responding to the same emergency calls.