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The Worst Call you have ever been on?

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  • #46
    Spent a Saturday afternoon listening to my boyfriend and two other firefighters tell their stories. The one's that always choke them up are the fires that involve kids.

    My boyfriend's worst call was to an inner city fire. When they arrived they found the adults standing on the sidewalk screaming "Save my babies!" There are four young children inside and the house was pretty involved so they couldn't go in. They knock the fire down, but it's too late. The coroner goes in and says he can't get the bodies and needs help. The kids were in the kitchen and are stuck to the melted vinyl flooring. So they sent Scott in with a stripping fork to pull up the floor with the kids and put them in body bags. At that moment he questioned why he had ever gotten into this line of work. Luckily, he's had his share of "saves" and that helps make it all worthwhile. But, still, you never forget.

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    • #47
      One of the 1st calls I ever had was a crib death with a 6 month old baby....signs of child abuse and neglect where obvious and just seeing that baby lying there motionless will be forever itched in my head...children always take the cake for being tough on the soul and this one was no different...

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      • #48
        About 11 years ago working my part-time job with a private ambulance service, I ran a police officer that I had worked with frequently. She had been shot in the head with her own gun by an assailant who had wrestled it away from her. The call couldn't have gone smoother, from an EMS point of view. From call received to presentation at the trauma center was less than 15 minutes. We had her boarded and collared, intubated, with 2 large bore IV's in that time. My partner, a former cop, took it very hard. I know that there was nothing more that could have been done for her, but it made it tough having personally known her.

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        • #49
          I havn't been around too long, but the worst call was a MVA on a 384, a local highway. A little after 0200 a compact car with a driver, passenger and infant. Turns out the woman had fallen asleep while driving, drifted off the road and slammed into the back of a parked tractor trailer at about 60-70mph. No skid marks, dead on target. The woman was DOA and we extricated and Lifestarred(Air transported) the passanger. The baby had been plucked out of the car seat by a police officer first on scene and rushed to the hospital. Turns out the woman was coming back from visiting her boyfriend (childs father in jail) and driving back to providence, RI. Poor kid has a dead mother and a incarcerated father. Remember, driving tired is as bad as driving drunk

          ------------------
          "You go..... we go"
          Shawn
          8th Utilities District
          Manchester CT

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          • #50
            This call didn't really shake me up, it just kinda made me wonder what is up with people these days. Toned out at 3am for MVA with entrapment. Upon arriving on the scene we saw what used to be a chevy cavalier wrapped almost completely around a good sized pine tree. To give some insight as to how wrapped it was you could spin the car around the tree without it comming off and the B pillars were about 4 inches apart. By this time some family members of one of the victims is on the scene, the 2 guys in the car were not wearing seatbelts and there were no airbags, but that wouldn't have mattered they were killed instantly. While on the scene we noticed a set of skidmarks running about 120 feet down the road aparently 2 cars had been racing, one failed to make the curve and hit the tree, and when the other one saw that he locked his up and skidded blowing a tire in the process. the driver of that car stopped his car about a 1/4 mile away and changed his tire and left. The messed up part is that is was the brother of one of the guys in the car wrapped around the tree.

            ------------------
            When the defecation hits the oscillation I'll be there.

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            • #51
              I've been a firefighter/paramedic for 15 years. As soon as you think you have seen it all, you experience something new and exciting. I relate to what my brothers have expressed in this forum about calls involving children. I was a paramedic on a run a few years ago with the engine company and ambulance crew. The call was dispatched as a "unconscious child" call. I was assigned to the ambulance that shift. My partner and I were first on the scene. We were greeted by a emotionally distressed grandfather. The grandfather identified himself as a doctor and said his granddaughter was not breathing. As we entered the residence we found the childs father with the child, pale and lifeless, on the dining room table, performing CPR. The father identified himself as a doctor also. The father stated he was a anesthesiologist and that his daughter needed to be intubated.
              I asked what happened, and how and where did you find your daughter not breathing. We intubated the child, continued CPR, and moved to the ambulance. The father said he had left the 18 month old alone while he took a shower. When he got out of the shower he found his daughter self-strangled in the mini-blind cord. You could actually visualize the ligature cord mark on her neck. The mini-blinds were equiped with breakaway draw strings. But the child had managed to pull slack from between the slats of mini-blinds and become entangled. The father felt horrible. As doctors, he and his father made the best attempts at revival for their child. Our team went over and above the call of duty to try and save this child. We did what we were trained and gave all of the ALS we were trained to do to no avail. The doctor kept his composure until the E.R. doctor called it. He was devestated. This was a tough call for our crew. This was an accident. It seemed so senseless. I am a human being and I have feelings. I am a professional and don't let my feelings interfere with my duties. Debriefing is essential after stressful calls. We can become our own worst critics. Self-criticism can eat you up if you don't get a handle on it. Firefighters and paramedics are compassionate people. You have to have compassion for your fellow man to do what we do.

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              • #52
                The first one I remember is a motorcycle mva with two passengers they were speeding down a hill with a rock wall on one side and a sharp drop down the other. the first guy I saw was the driver, he was slumped around a tree. when i reached him I saw intestines up the tree about three feet and his skull was opened up, I didnt know then i was standing right over his brains. AS I checked Him I heard the other down the hill farther moaning
                and talking incoherantly to no one.
                When i reached him I thought that his left arm was missing, so i kept looking around to make sure i wasnt standing over that too, turns out it was somewhat attatched to him underneath him. He was a wreck, head truama
                broken leg, partially amputated arm. He kept telling me over and over that "the dumb idiot was trying to kill me", he lived, his friend however was the worst state of the human body i have ever seen.

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                • #53
                  Responded to a pin job on Route 169(State Highway that runs through Bayonne). Car had flipped a few times and was on its side when we arrived on location. Arm was out the window and being pinned by the roof.

                  Cops were calling us to get the women out. Got to car and noticed brain matter on the ground and her head split from her mouth up.

                  She was on heroin and what had happened was she crossed a median and the car went airborn. As it came down, she started to self eject(no seat belt) but before she was fully ejected, she hit her face on the driver's side A-post of an oncoming carand knocked her back into her own car. There was bone fragment, brain matter and blood all over the car that was hit. Felt so bad for the people who got hit(grandparents babysitting two little kids).

                  Probably the worst call I have been on.

                  ------------------
                  Kevin M. Fitzhenry, [email protected]
                  Firefighter, Truck Co. 2
                  City of Bayonne (NJ) FD
                  www.bayonnenj.org/fire/

                  [This message has been edited by FitzBFDT2 (edited 05-18-2001).]

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                  • #54
                    The worst call ever answered by myself and my company, we were dispatched to a MVA with a rescue, vehicle on fire. We responded with another department as it was their run but we had the rescue equipment for this area. We had a nearly 10 minute run to get to the accident scene. Just before arrival the chief from the other department went on scene with a truck over the embankment, on fire. Just seconds later he notified radio to contact the cornor. I ended up working as the IC on this incident as all of our command officers were out of the area. It was just a routine incident with a fatality, except about 30 minutes into the accident, the routine turned into a nightmare. The driver that was killed and burned was my friend i had went to school with. He had gotten a different truck than i had last saw him with so i didnt reconize him at the scene. That was until i heard who the other person in the vehicle was. It was his girlfriend and as soon as i heard it was him, it was like a ton of bricks hit me. I just blocked it out until the run was over. I had nightmares for weeks. The worst part was his mother giving me a hug at the funeral. That nearly killed me. And if all of this wasnt bad enough, about 4 hours after this accident we made a car overturned victims ejected...It was a mom and her 2 kids. Mom and her oldest son was fine, they were seatbelted in. Her 8 year old son wasnt belted in, thru him out the back window and the car landed on his head. Killed him on impact. This day caused me to take 2 weeks worth of leave. I can handle alot of things, but children is a whole different story.

                    ------------------
                    Captain James Collier
                    McMahan Fire Rescue
                    KCTCS Area 6 Instructor

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                    • #55
                      Wow, what timing. After 20 years in the fire service my worst call was yesterday. My engine stopped at a cross walk to allow to little kids to cross. The kids darted out across the street not seeing the other lane because of the engine blocking the view. At the same time a car in the other lane was moving along at about 40 mph also with the view obsructed by the engine. The little boy was struck by the car right in front of me throughing him about 25 feet like a rag doll. It all happened in about 2 seconds and I saw it coming and could do nothing to prevent it. I have been on many calls this serious but never had to witness it happen and then go to work. He was seriously injured but by the grace of GOD will recover. After our critical stress meeting two of our medics had to go home. These guys are seasoned medics.

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                      • #56
                        Wow, what timing. After 20 years in the fire service my worst call was yesterday. My engine stopped at a cross walk to allow to little kids to cross. The kids darted out across the street not seeing the other lane because of the engine blocking the view. At the same time a car in the other lane was moving along at about 40 mph also with the view obsructed by the engine. The little boy was struck by the car right in front of me throughing him about 25 feet like a rag doll. It all happened in about 2 seconds and I saw it coming and could do nothing to prevent it. I have been on many calls this serious but never had to witness it happen and then go to work. He was seriously injured but by the grace of GOD will recover. After our critical stress meeting two of our medics had to go home. These guys are seasoned medics.

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                        • #57
                          About 6 years ago we recieved a call for a possible shooting. upon arrival, I observed one other emt walking away from scene with his head hanging down, and crime scene tape going up. as I got closer, I realized that a high school friend of mine-who was also our dept's chief, was lying in his front yard, with 3 bullets in him from a hunting rifel. Also lying by his front door was another f.f. who was a member of my company, with a self inflicted wound to his head from the same rifel. This devestated the dep't.
                          this is one that will never be forgotten.
                          For those of you who need to know, it was all from a love triangle, so be careful what you do. No one ever expected that these people would react the way they did.

                          ------------------
                          Scott

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                          • #58
                            People think we're sometimes cold in doing our jobs, but isn't it interesting how you can almost feel the emotion in all of these posts.

                            I've been around the business for 17 years, my dad for 10 before that, and my grandfather is still plugging away after 50 years as a volunteer, so the 'family stories' abound.

                            Since becoming County Fire Coordinator for Sunflower County, MS, I've seen way more than I wanted. Two of the worst would include a single family dwelling where four kids (6mo, 2, 8, and 9) were left in the care of their blind grandfather. Dispatch called my house around 11pm; FD had requested my response to house fire with unknown number of victims (numbers ranged from 3 to 8 initially). All five died that night. The house as 3/4 burned. Grandfather was found in a bathroom, one kid in a bedroom floor, and the three others including the infant were huddled together in the floor of the room where the fire started. Had we found them all in bed it might not have hit quite as hard, but finding them as we did proved they knew what was happening.

                            The second was May of 2000. MVA on a lonely county road at 3:00am. The kind where you just know it's gonna be bad even before you're feet hit the floor. I arrived onscene right behind EMS and a Deputy (also a firefighter). The car had missed a curve, sailed off and hit a utility pole on the passenger's side, rode up the pole until it snapped and then continued another 50 feet or so before it landed on it's roof. The impact was so hard the roof was pushed almost completely down to the bottom of the windows. We could see one victim, no pulse. Second victim could only be accessed through a hole just big enough to get your hand through. No pulse either. We could see a tangle of legs in the back seat, but couldn't do anything till the rescue got in. Ultimately it wound up being five teens (three high school kids and two college freshmen), all DOA. It took nearly two hours to get them all out. We've all been there when we get one or two DOAs out, but doing five! And it was very slow - one at a time. I guess the worst memory that still haunts me was hearing the parents back up on the road. Of the five killed, four sets of parents showed up (the fifth was from out of state). We called in one of our chaplains VERY early on this one, and performed most admirably when working with the parents. He'd come down where we were to get an update, then go back to the parents. I bet he did that 10 times that night.

                            Luckily we'd instituted a CISM program for our guys about a year prior to this. People, you may not think it'll bother you; and I did too. All day that day I just sort of gelled at the office, and I wasn't much of a husband or dad that night. The next morning my wife told me I must have dreamed about it because she woke to hear me "directing firefighters" (her words) in my sleep. Why do I say this? Critical Incident Stress isn't the ONE incident by itself. It's the build-up of many, many events, and sooner or later that ONE event is going to be like a dam breaking. All of those old events you thought you forgot will come rushing back.

                            Take time to do small debriefings and defusings anytime you think you need too. Officers, watch those guys out there.

                            To whoever started this thread - you hit on something good.

                            ------------------
                            James A. Whitfield, Jr., MCEM
                            Sunflower County Fire Coordinator
                            Indianola, Missisippi
                            (662) 887-6253
                            [email protected]
                            Battalion 1 - The Pride of the South

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                            • #59
                              I would have to say the worst call I have ever been on started off as a 10-50 involving a truck and a motorcycle. As the first arriving piece I started noticing all the Harley's lining the road. The moment I started recognizing the bikes I know I was in trouble. Then I noticed it, the bike mangled by the truck was a good friend of mine. He and a bunch of my friends had been on a run for most of the day and were coming back to the city. At that same time a drugged up known felon with no drivers license was stealing a six pack of beer and speeding away from the quick stop. While speeding away through a turn he was unable to keep control of the truck and hit my friend head on. Killing him instantly. My friend whose only addictions in life were making people laugh, drinking Pepsi, riding his bike and his 6 year old daughter laid in a mangled mess on a gravel driveway. Almost 90% of the bones in his body were broken, his face was split open across the bridge of his nose three inches wide. His eyes were missing and most of his brains were scattered along the gravel. Later on after putting his body in the bodybag I sifted through the gravel collecting up what was left of him but I never found his eyes....and that still bothers me even today, three years later.

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                              • #60
                                The infants and toddlers are always rough. But one I always come back to is a MVA I was on. 17 year old female was on her way back home from a football game at her high school. She had her junior permit for 2 weeks. Anyway a car came in the opposite direction in her lane, she swerved, apparantly hit the soft ground on the side of the road, flipped the car over on its top on the downward slope of a drainage ditch. When we got there, I found her still in the car, but due to it was a convertable, her head was wedged between the top of the door and the ground. She was CAOx3 the whole time, I crawled under the car with her, started 2 Large Bore IV's, taped a O2 mask to her face. I remember everything she said to me that day. She was only a tenth of a mile away from home. We attempted to lift the car with airbags, after cribbing, and using ropes to try to stablize further, but the cribbing and car kept wanting to shift downhill. We used the tow truck hoist to pull straight up. The minute the car came off her head she was gone. Massive open skull fracture. The car kept her head from coming apart and keeping her alive. Her face (she was absolutely gorgous), her voice, and all she told me is a curse. Other then her parents I was the last one to see her face in her normal condition before swelling set in. I delivered every word she wanted her parents to know, and walked up front with them during her funeral procession. While it hurts and I still have dreams, and an occasional nightmare, she keeps the humanity and compassion when I start to forget. She would be 23 now. Even the child abuse cases I've worked, fall behind her. It is amazing how, when this question is asked, anyone who's been there, doesn't haven't to think about it, it just pops right up.

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