Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

From the Blogs; Special Thanks to the Fire Department, Engine 20

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

From the Blogs; Special Thanks to the Fire Department, Engine 20

Article excerpt

I am writing this to give a heart-felt thank you to the brave men that work for the Clay County Fire Department Engine 20 in Green Cove Springs. They were called out to a house fire around 3:30 a.m. Aug. 25 to find that the home of my uncle John Hayes was fully engulfed in flames and that he was still inside the house.

They entered the building without concern for themselves to find a man that they didn't even know. I know some of you would say that is what they get paid for but you didn't see the house. The fire was so hot that you couldn't get close without feeling the fire burn your skin. This house was about 40 years old and was built of what we call lighter knot or lighter pine so when it started to burn it burned extremely hot and quite fast. But these men still entered the house with flames meeting them at their backs and above their heads; the smoke was so thick that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.

Without knowing the layout of the house, they were in a maze, so to speak, with one mission and that was to get to our family member and try to get him out alive. They were equipped with a thermal imager but it didn't work properly because the house was so hot the imager only works to about 600 to 700 degrees and the house was much hotter than that. But they searched by crawling on the floor until they found him by the bed on the floor. The men from station 20 picked him up and decided the fastest way to get John out of the house was through the window where they handed him off to rescue who started CPR on him immediately.

You would think that at that point their job was over, but they stayed with the family to make sure that everyone was OK. This was my grandmother's only brother and she had already lost both of her parents. We feared the news of her brother's death could possibly cause medical problems, so they stayed and monitored her. The one thing that I didn't expect to see was one of the firemen on his knees praying for my uncle and my family as we grieved his death.

I just have to say that just when you start to think that people really don't care anymore you meet special people who truly do their jobs to help people even when the end result was not what they wanted. …

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