PETERSBURG, Va. – Petersburg fire leaders say a group of quick-acting firefighters saved a man’s life in a house fire Saturday.
Firefighters from Station 5 rescued an unconscious man from a house fire off Rusty Court. It’s the same station city leaders once considered closing down for budget reasons.
"If it hadn't been for Station 5, he probably wouldn't be going home to his family,” said Lauren Gueret, a medic with Southside Virginia Emergency Crew. She was the lead medic on scene.
The call came in Saturday at 2:15 p.m. When Petersburg Fire Department’s Engine 5 arrived to the home, they found heavy smoke and an unconscious man lying in the hallway near the front door. Two firefighters rescued the man and carried him outside.
"Literally hadn't even parked the truck yet, I jumped out of the truck and run up the front hill where the victim was laying there on the grass,” said Gueret.
Seconds before Gueret got there, the police officer assisting gave the victim CPR.
"First thing you want to do is make sure they have a pulse because if they don't you need to give them CPR. And the police officer was awesome because that's the first thing he did, explained Gueret.
The police officer was able to revive the victim, but he was still was not breathing.
"The biggest thing with fire victims is they're going to have a lot of smoke inhalation and damage in their throat. It's going to swell the airway, and they can't breathe on their own. So first thing to do is give them some oxygen and start breathing for them,” said Gueret.
Eventually, the man started breathing slowly.
"Even if then he's looking like he's breathing, 5-10 minutes later that airway can swell up and he won't be able to breathe at all. So we wanted to get him to the hospital as quickly as possible,” she said.
He was taken to Southside Regional and later transferred to VCU Medical Center.
"He will recover, but I don't know the extent of his injuries. From what I saw, it wasn't as bad as it could've been,” said Gueret.
She says it’s thanks to the quick response by firefighters, the police officer and medics on scene.
"It's a great thing, it goes to show--us first responders still work together everyday when we have to,” said Sgt. Daniel Felthoff with the Petersburg Police Department.
Gueret says it shows how important station 5 firefighters are, and for a city battling funding issues, it's a resource that could mean the difference between life or death.
"That smoke, I mean it destroys your airways within minutes. And if station 5 hadn't been there to respond, I don't think I could've gotten him back. I don't think we as a team could've gotten him back,” she said.
Petersburg fire officials say the fire started in the kitchen with cooking materials.
The two people living in the home will be displaced temporarily because of damage in the home. The Red Cross has been notified to help assist.