California Fire Department Welcomes 9 Babies Within 4 Months: 'It Was Just a Coincidence!'

A California fire department is introducing the “newest little family members” of its crew after nine firefighters all welcomed babies within a four-month span.

The Rancho Cucamonga Fire District celebrated the baby boom with a photo shoot, showing the little ones laid out on their fathers’ gear. The first baby was born on March 10 and the last on July 12, Gabrielle Costello, a department spokesperson and one of the new mothers, tells PEOPLE.

“It was not planned. It was just a coincidence, but everybody’s happy it worked out so we could all experience this together,” Costello says.

One by one, the firefighters — some of them first-time dads — learned of the pregnancies.

“Everybody was really surprised,” Costello says. “But they were really excited to have them all so close together too, so they could all grow up alongside each other with their dads at the department.”

Rancho Cucamonga Fire District firefighters holding their new babies

Costello welcomed her baby, Charlotte Costello, on July 4, making her the eighth little one of the bunch. When all the babies had arrived, another mother suggested the families come together for a photo shoot.

Rancho Cucamonga Fire District firefighters holding their new babies with mothers

“We were all curious as to how it would go, because there’s naps and feedings and diapers,” Costello tells PEOPLE. “But, surprisingly, it went really well. The babies only had a few breakdowns and a few spit-ups. But it actually turned out good and we were all really happy.”

Other shots showed the babies — seven girls and two boys — perched on their fathers’ knees. One photo showed the mothers posing with the babies and fathers as well.

Officials shared the photos in a post on Facebook, which has been shared more than 1,000 times. Costello says the group never thought the pictures would garner so much attention.

“We were all so surprised!” Costello tells PEOPLE. “We just took it as a moment to remember our babies being so little. But it went viral and we’re just glad our babies can spread so much happiness to everybody.”

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