Fatal Structure Fire

lightsandsirens5

Forum Deputy Chief
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38
Fighting them sucks, majorly. Especially when you know the poor bugger who burned to death a mere five feet from the front door and safety. And the only thing that is worse than fighting the fire knowing he is still inside is doing recovery for the coroner. When the coroner asked me to hose the body down so that it would not melt the body bag, I had to turn the hose over to my captain who was staring right there. I'll share the rest later when I get over it.

All started by a cigarette, damn it. Another resident fell asleep smoking. They made it out, but were airlifted to the burn center in Seattle I believe with 2nd and 3rd degree to the hands arms feet and legs, 1st and 2nd degree to the face and head, and what appeared to be severe airway burns. Flight crew RSIed her in the ambulance before they transferred her.

God it sucks. I don't think it would have been as bad if I didn't know them. Or if the guy was found in his bedroom where the bed used to be. I know he knew what was going on though and obviously was headed for the door when the flames took him.

First fatal structure fire my department has had in almost 50 years too. Broke that winning streak I guess.

Thats all..... Thanks for listening.

:-(
 

Anjel

Forum Angel
4,548
302
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I'm so sorry Joe. If you need anything please don't hesitate to PM me. I am a great listener :)

Try not to think about it too much. You did the best that you could do, and sometimes it just happens.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you, coworkers, and those injured and their families.
 

fast65

Doogie Howser FP-C
2,664
2
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I'm really sorry to hear that :/ But, like Anjel said, don't hesitate to PM me if you need someone to talk to.

Sent from my mobile command center
 

foxfire

Forum Asst. Chief
608
1
0
Really sorry to hear about it. My prayers are with you and the family affected. Same as the others have said, if you want to havea listening ear PM or text me.
 

Linuss

Forum Chief
8,264
32
48
usalfyre had a 3 fatality structure fire in his district just a few weeks ago...


Luckily I haven't ever had one... but my constant crappy calls are the damn suicide by hangings...
 

ArcticKat

Forum Captain
470
0
0
Worst one I went to was first on the scene of a house fire with two kids trapped in the house. We pulled up in the ambulance and could see the shape of the kids silhouetted in front of the flames at the window.

The window was too high for us to reach so my partner went to the door to try to get them but couldn't see thru the smoke, I backed the ambulance up to the house and climbed onto the roof to smash in the window, but they were no longer there.

As near as we can figure the kids heard my partner at the door and tried to go to her but never made it. 10 minutes of futile searching later and the fire department arrived to a fully involved house fire and just let it burn itself out to recover the bodies of a 5 year old boy and 3 year old girl the next morning.

Grandma had fallen asleep with a pan on the stove, it caught fire, grandma panicked and ran from the house, forgetting there were two babes in their room.

:censored:Wow, I'd managed to suppress that until reading this thread. Gonna be a long night. I'm with ya buddy, keep the faith.
 

Stephanie.

Forum Captain
356
1
16
I think one of the most top priority things in the fire service is brotherhood and sisterhood. There are seven key subjects in the fire service that pertains to this.

1. Character
2. Honor
3. Respect
4. Integrity
5. Servant
6. Teamwork

Notice I said there were seven, but I only listed six. The seventh is Christ- spelled out by the 1st letter of each word. I believe we must have all of these to handle and deal with anything.

I'm so sorry to hear of this tragic event. I know stuff like this affects all of us. I ask you to turn to your brothers and sisters- whether it's people who ran the call with you, your chaplain, or someone on here (I am more than willing to listen and help). Don't carry this weight on your shoulders and seek help. I will pray for you, others involved, and the family of those who perished. Stay strong brother & just remember we love you.
 
OP
lightsandsirens5

lightsandsirens5

Forum Deputy Chief
3,970
18
38
Thanks people. It is still setting in too I think. :-(

I absolutely hate that helpless feeling you get sometimes. It just hit me like a ton of bricks last night, sometimes you do everything in your power, but nothing works. I felt so helpless. The first unit on scene was a brush truck that happened to be in the area. As I'm bunking and packing up I could hear them on the radio: "Control send us another ambulance. We have multiple patients. Break, 52, what is your ETA? We have one patient out, severely burned, one trapped inside." Talk about a renewed sense of urgency!

Here is the engine that can make entry, do rescue, and it's too late. We were flying to that call, quite literally. Our engine was pushed to the limit of safety last night, and still we could do nothing. NOTHING! Not a freaking thing. Rolling up on a house that "blew up" (in the sense meaning super rapid fire growth) and now has flames 100 feet high, we knew right away he was gone and there wasn't a thing we could do. It made me sick to find him so close to the door too.

Anyhow, I'm seriously considering if I really want to make my career in fire/EMS. Last night I finally got hit on the fire side. I already realized almost this same lesson in EMS last winter. Buy last night a personal four year winning streak of no fatality fires was broken in a horrible way. And I wonder, why am I in fire? Why am I in EMS? I still haven't answered those.

Add to that I can think of no more horrible death for me than burning to death. This morning, trying to sleep, whenever I closed my eyes I saw his face as it was in life. Then it disappeared and was replaced by flames. And I swear I could hear someone screaming in an animal like agony. Eventually I told myself there was nothing I could have done, and I fell asleep. But then again today, I apparently forgot that there was nothing I could have done. Guess I better keep reminding myself of that.
 

fast65

Doogie Howser FP-C
2,664
2
38
I can't imagine how you're feeling right now, but just do what you can to take care of yourself. Just know that there's a lot of people who are here for you, and don't hesitate to reach out if you need to vent.

Don't try to think about if fire/EMS is for you right now, just take some time for yourself and try to process what happened. Take care.

Sent from my mobile command center
 

firetender

Community Leader Emeritus
2,552
11
38
For what it's worth...

In EMS we're called upon to be present during many moments of death. Those are the moments surrounding the time that life is present and then life is gone.

You know what repeated exposure taught me?

#1) I, too will die
#2) We are not our bodies.

Call it an "Animating factor" if you will but most often, something is There when I get there, and Gone before the patient is pronounced dead. This ain't Religion, this is visceral experience...something moves on. (Personally, I ain't hanging around my corpse any longer than is absolutely necessary!)

Since death is inevitable, it really means something when we are there for each other in the moments surrounding it. It matters not that the Fates claimed your woman through that fire only a closed door away. What matters is that you were there, you care, and she did not die unattended to. She really didn't. She got the best that was available to her under the circumstances she was in.

Yes, a part of you died with her, metaphorically. Let's call it a piece of your own innocence; maybe a part that thinks you'll live forever. Since you ARE the one that continues to survive, you get to make a lesson out of this, for you and us.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you come up with!
 

Aidey

Forum Deputy Chiefette
4,800
11
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Add to that I can think of no more horrible death for me than burning to death. This morning, trying to sleep, whenever I closed my eyes I saw his face as it was in life. Then it disappeared and was replaced by flames. And I swear I could hear someone screaming in an animal like agony. Eventually I told myself there was nothing I could have done, and I fell asleep. But then again today, I apparently forgot that there was nothing I could have done. Guess I better keep reminding myself of that.
I don't know how much it will help, but chances are he was unconscious or even dead from the smoke by the time the flames directly affected him.
 

RocketMedic

Californian, Lost in Texas
4,723
1,336
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Not a structure, but our Iraqi counterparts lost five men in an IED strike on a Humvee they'd been gifted. They hit a decent-sized explosive and got torn up. The guys in the backseats bled out trying to open the doors. It was probably unsurvivable, but I still wonder if I would have beesn able to help them if w had been with them at the time.
What makes it worst for me was that they had just been shown how to work with the vehicle and been through a CLS course. At least one of them might have lived had he paid attention instead of being on his phone.
 
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Anjel

Forum Angel
4,548
302
83
You went 4 whole years without loosing a single person. That's pretty damn amazing if you ask me.

That is why you are in Fire. You managed to prevent deaths for 4 years.

You can't save them all. And that is the reality of the situation. People are going to die, but you bust your *** to make sure that doesn't happen.

EMS.... You postpone the inevitable. You provide comfort, a warm smile, and gentle touch. For people when we meet them it is sometimes the worst day of their life. They need people like you who care. Who isn't in it for the guts and glory. But one who actually cares how a person is feeling and truly wants to help.

You have a big heart, and it is gonna work against you. Just keep your head up, and please get some counseling or talk to someone, or it will slowly start killing that wonderful side of yours.
 

Anjel

Forum Angel
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302
83

Seaglass

Lesser Ambulance Ape
973
0
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Anyhow, I'm seriously considering if I really want to make my career in fire/EMS. Last night I finally got hit on the fire side. I already realized almost this same lesson in EMS last winter. Buy last night a personal four year winning streak of no fatality fires was broken in a horrible way. And I wonder, why am I in fire? Why am I in EMS? I still haven't answered those.
We can't answer that for you, of course. You're the only one that can. Whether this is the right time to even consider that is also entirely up to you. Waiting for some distance to let yourself stabilize might not be a bad idea.

I'll give you the short version of my own answer, though. (PM me if you want the long version, or if you just want a sympathetic ear.) I'm here to do what I can. Sometimes that means I'm just here to try, and fail. Sometimes that means I'm just bearing witness. But I'm here, and I'm trying, on the off chance that it'll make a difference. I try to remind myself often that the times when it does are gifts. We're all helpless, to some extent or another, in a world that's anything but just. There are times when the payment for those gifts is very cruel. But I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I wasn't there, trying to the best of my abilities.
 

johnrsemt

Forum Deputy Chief
1,382
185
63
We had a fatal apt fire during EMT-Basic school; two of my fellow students where on ambulances that went to the fire; one of the was on the transport of the Mother (it was a mother and baby who died).

It wasn't til later that a neighbor told the chief that the lady that went to the hospital was an EMT-B student; in our class; and she was also a RN at the ED that they took her to. They were still working on her in the ED at the time and didn't know who she was until the chief called them. She died at the ED after an hour or 2.

That was rough; we were about 1/2 through the class: most of us found out the next morning in class when all the chiefs came in (which is a scary sight in it self, sitting in class and that much brass walks in).
We all made a pact to finish school for her; and she was made the class valedictorian (sp?) after the fact.
 

bigbaldguy

Former medic seven years 911 service in houston
4,043
41
48
Call it an "Animating factor" if you will but most often, something is There when I get there, and Gone before the patient is pronounced dead. This ain't Religion, this is visceral experience...something moves on. (Personally, I ain't hanging around my corpse any longer than is absolutely necessary!)
I like this. Puts into words what I've often felt. This is exactly how I felt when my father recently had a massive stroke and passed away while I was with him. One minute he was my dad the next my dad was gone but his body continued on for a bit.
It doesn't make the loss any less painful but knowing that a body is just a shell that a happy "something" leaves behind makes it easier for me to deal with things.
I'm sorry about your friend but stay in the business. EMS needs folks like you.
 

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