About 16 hours after the floor of a home collapsed in Tioga County, New York, killing Owego Fire Department Captain Matthew Porcari and injuring Lt. Daniel Gavin, two other firefighters found themselves in a similar situation. This time it was in Brandywine Hundred, Delaware and fortunately the outcome was very different.
Talleyville Fire Company Career Firefighter/EMT Kyle Rice and Brandywine Hundred Fire Company Career Firefighter/EMT Kyle Sweetman are at home recovering from relatively minor injuries after falling from the first floor into the basement during a fire yesterday at a home on Weldin Road. The firefighters fell one after the other at two different locations in the house and both called maydays.
Kyle Rice responded to well wishers on his Facebook page with an account of his ordeal. He has given permission for us to reprint it here:
Thank you everyone for all the texts, phone calls, messages and posts today It means a lot. I have been asked to recall what happened about 100 times today and am sure that it will only increase more over the next few days so I would like to post it here and make it easier for everyone. I will probably re-post it tomorrow also at some point.Today I experienced something that I have heard about… countless times but never really thought it would happen to me.
While operating at a working residential house fire I was on the first due rescue truck, preforming the primary search for anyone trapped in the house due to the fire and smoke. While preforming the search, the floor I was on suddenly collapsed beneath me. I fell approximately 10 feet flat on my face into the basement with all ( it at least felt like it) the debris and flooring falling on top of me. I had no idea that I had fallen that far, thinking I was just clumsy and fell over a small step or whatnot. I was facedown on the basement floor unable to move my legs due to debris on top of me, I was able to free my right leg but not my left and ended up pulling my foot out of my boot to free it. My SCBA (Breathing apparatus we wear into fires) was entrapped and I was forced to remove it while still breathing its air, free it and my self, then put it back on.I called a mayday at some point that I can’t remember exactly when. I tried to move around the basement to find a way to orient myself to find a way out but due to the debris and fire around me I was very limited on what direction I could move in. I was able to find the basement stairs and started to make my way up them, sans left boot and my axe I lost, I got to the top of the steps fully expecting to make my way out only to find the floor the stairs led to had also collapsed in all directions I could see. I was running out of air at this point and called mayday again, I think, to inform them I needed to be removed asap as I was out of clean air. I laid flat on the steps and started to “suck floor” while trying to breach the wall next to me to get out with little progress. During this process I was only worried when I ran out of air, I KNEW that every person on that scene was doing everything they could to find and remove me, and the other fire fighter who had fallen through a different part of floor no where near me. I could hear Eric Haley “Ceaser” yelling from someplace. I knew with absolute certainty that he would let that house fall down on his head before he left ANYONE behind, and because of that I KNEW I was going to get out along with him and everyone working to find and get us out. They did find me, beating away at the wall, and were able to pull me over a couch and partially through the wall I was taking down to get me out. I was pulled out and taking to the hospital, I have 2nd degree burns to my ears along with 1st degree to my face and some sun burn ish minor stuff also. I know I am lucky and my injuries are more then an annoyance then anything else.What I was able to do today, how I was able to react was a direct reflection on the better men that trained me to do exactly what I did, Career and Volunteer alike how to think, fight and survive in the worst possible conditions. Today I experienced something that I never thought would happen to me.. today my life was saved by others, brothers, who would have given theirs to help me keep mine as I would for any of them. Thank you to those that trained me, and thank you to those who trained with me for days exactly like this one.
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