YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s tough for the men and women who keep our communities safe when someone does not survive things like a crash or fire.
A couple of the firefighters who went to the scene of a house fire Friday night said they did everything they could to save the victim, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
“It’s always a tense moment when there’s somebody inside a fire,” said fireman Ben Hendershott.
Youngstown firefighters had been called to Winona Drive on the city’s south side for a house fire with a victim still trapped inside.
“Once we pulled up on scene, the first story of the house was pretty much fully involved, there was fire coming out of every window,” said Youngstown Fire Captain Timothy Frease.
But their job is to stay calm, do everything they can to make the rescue and risk their lives at the same time.
“If there’s a person in the house, then we switch to a rescue mode… It’s the most dangerous portion of our job,” Frease said.
“Your adrenaline takes over, hopefully your training takes over too where you’re not really thinking hard, you’re just acting,” Hendershott said.
Firefighters put a 24-foot ladder up to a second floor window to climb through, to try to find the victim trapped inside.
Frease was the first to the top of the ladder, where he immediately found 61-year-old Joyce Shannon inside a bedroom.
“It’s hard to tell if someone is breathing or not in that situation. So at that point, you just treat everyone like they are breathing and you get them out as quickly as possible,” Frease said.
And that’s exactly what they did.
“Within 20 seconds, the other crew was upstairs. We wrapped her up in the blankets and she was out of the house less than a minute after I had found her,” Frease said.
Medical personnel from AMR tried to revive Shannon but it was too late. Firefighters presume she was already dead from smoke inhalation when they found her.
“It’s not good. It’s part of the job, unfortunately, but you don’t want it to ever happen,” Hendershott said.
Even though it never gets easier for these firefighters, they knew their smooth and fast operation that night was the best they could do.
“She didn’t make it, obviously, but we gave her the best possible chance if she was going to make it,” Hendershott said.
Captain Kurt Wright of the city fire department said five people were in the home at the time the fire broke out and four managed to make it outside. Three people ran out the first floor and another person jumped out a first floor window.
The fire is still under investigation.