Not sure if anyone has heard about this or not so I thought I would share this.
Taken from www.qctimes.com
The Davenport firefighter who fell 20 feet from a ladder last week while fighting a downtown blaze appears now to be paralyzed from the waist down, a fellow firefighter said.
Capt. Bob Juarez, 43, remained in the intensive care unit Tuesday at OSF St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria, Ill., where he was taken after the June 12 accident at a fire at the Trissel, Graham & Toole Insurance Co. warehouse on River Drive.
He underwent surgery several days ago and remains on a ventilator.
“Bob did suffer a serious spinal injury, and there is some paralysis,” said Les Norin, president of the Davenport firefighters’ union. “He had some very significant fractures to his back and neck.
“The loss of function is below the waist. He does have function of his arms and hands. Sometimes you look for the small victories, I guess.”
Fire officials also are looking for answers, Norin said, as to how and why Juarez fell. Conditions at the fire were especially challenging last week because the ladders were erected in several inches of floodwater, and thunderstorms raged all around them.
A second firefighter was assisting Juarez with the fire hose as he climbed the ladder to the second-floor blaze, Norin said. However, firefighting helmets weigh several pounds, and it is impossible for those wearing them to keep their heads pointed upward for long periods of time.
“The other firefighter had just looked down and heard the splash (from Juarez falling),” he said. “It’s unsettling, I can tell you that. You try every day to be as safe as you can.”
Fire officials are planning to review video that was shot at the scene by a Quad-City Times employee to see if they can piece together what happened, Norin said. They also hope that anyone else with video from the scene will contact the fire department.
“We think somebody out there may have video of him falling,” he said. “We’d like to see if we can put together what happened. Nobody actually saw what happened. We want it never to happen again.”
Juarez has been unable so far to tell his fellow firefighters how the accident happened because he has been on a ventilator. Norin said he has visited his friend and fellow firefighter nearly every day since the accident.
“We’re hoping the tube (in his airway) will come out in a few days,” he said. “It’s been real hard for him to communicate.”
Fire Chief Mark Frese said he is not pinning his hopes on Juarez remembering what happened, given how quickly and violently the accident occurred.
“His helmet was destroyed — the face shield torn off and everything,” he said. “We don’t know if it came off on the way down and he came down on top of it, or if he came down on his head. We just don’t know.”
The chief said medics responded instantly because they already were standing by at the scene.
“He was down face-first, and I was worried about him being in the water,” he said. “The medics cut off his breathing gear and got him collared (in a neck brace). Honestly, we suspected Thursday that he might be paralyzed, but you never want to say that.”
Juarez’s wife, Nancy, has been at her husband’s bedside since the accident, Norin said. The couple has a teenage daughter and son.
The president of the Peoria firefighters’ union met the Juarezes at the hospital when they arrived last week, Norin said.
“He stayed with Nancy until 4 a.m., waiting with her until more family could get there,” he said. “I called a good friend with the Rock Island fire department and, unbelievably, he happened to be in Peoria, too. So, he went and stayed with the family.
“The kids have been able to go in and see him, and I think that’s good for everybody.”
Meanwhile, Davenport firefighters are waiting for word on how they can help. They donated $1,000 immediately after the accident, which Norin said has been helpful to Juarez’s family for fuel, hotel rooms for resting and showering and for meals while they are away from home.
“There’s insurance and, we assume, worker’s comp, but we don’t know yet what Bob’s needs will be,” he said, adding that people who want to help should wait to do so until specific needs are identified.
Juarez has been widely identified as a popular, well-liked firefighter. He has been with the department for 18 years, Norin said, and is to retire from the Naval Reserves this summer after 20 years of service.
“This is a guy who has literally given his life to his country and his community,” Norin said. “He’s a Little League coach, very involved, and he’s someone everybody likes. This has been real tough.”
Frese said he has lost sleep, thinking about the accident and whether anything could have been done to prevent it — despite enormously difficult circumstances at the scene.
“Bob is one of those employees who just never complains about anything and is always there to help,” he said. “You can’t say enough about him. Everything is an understatement.”
Barb Ickes can be contacted at (563) 383-2316 or email@example.com.
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Thread: Prayers are needed!
06-17-2008, 11:28 PM #1
Prayers are needed!Lilyogi
06-18-2008, 08:33 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- DuBois, IL - just south of I-64 in the middle of the state
We'll be remembering Bob and his family in our prayers. It's always tragic when one of our brothers is seriously injured.Jack Boczek, Chief
Ashley Community Fire Protection District
06-18-2008, 04:17 PM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
He will be in my Prayers....
06-19-2008, 12:44 PM #4
He will be in my prayers along with his family and friends.~But with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26~
~The very worst fire plan is no plan. The next worse is two plans. ~
~Stay Safe! Everyone Goes Home!~
06-20-2008, 10:40 AM #5
Thoughts and prayers are with Bob and his family.SFPD Member MABAS Division 47
Told my wife I'm at work. Told my boss I'm sick. I'm really at the fire station.
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