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  1. #1
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Default Rescued Pennsylvania Firefighter Describes Ordeal

    Rescued Pennsylvania Firefighter Describes Ordeal

    ............

    MIKE FAHER
    Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.


    Lying on his back inside a burning building, Ethan Kabler couldn't see and could barely breathe.

    And he was not sure he would ever see his family again.

    "There was a point where, honestly, I didn't think I was going to make it," he recalled Sunday night.

    Well before dawn Sunday morning, Kabler, a 17-year veteran of the volunteer-fire service, had raced to join his colleagues from Richland Township Fire Department at 1801 Bedford St.

    That's where Carmen's Wholesale Tires was burning out of control.

    A few hours into a battle that involved 22 local departments, Kabler and three others were on the structure's roof trying to execute a "trench cut" -- a maneuver that, they hoped, would save some of the building.

    But Kabler accidentally stepped in a hole and fell more than 10 feet, landing on a pile of tires.

    Because he fell on his back, his breathing apparatus malfunctioned. A firefighter on the roof tried to help by tossing down his own air pack.

    But Kabler lost the mask, leaving him with little oxygen and few options.

    "It was pitch-black, there was smoke everywhere," he said.

    "I was coughing, throwing up."

    He switched on a small light, but that provided only a few inches of visibility. And Kabler, knowing that his would-be rescuers could pinpoint his exact location, did not want to move.

    "I would try to scream, but I was trying to preserve my air, because I didn't know how much I had," he said.

    Kabler added that a voice from above was a lifeline of sorts.

    "If it wasn't for a firefighter being there on the roof and communicating with me, I would have lost hope," he said.

    It just so happens that Kabler coordinates his department's rapid-intervention team, which trains for the type of situation he was in.

    Remembering that training, he tried to stay calm.

    "It seemed like an hour and a half," Kabler said. "It was actually probably 10 to 15 minutes where I had no air."

    Help arrived when firefighters punched through a nearby garage door.

    "When I saw them, that was the best moment," Kabler said.

    The firefighter was rushed to Memorial Medical Center.

    He had no injuries from his fall but was suffering from carbon-monoxide poisoning.

    By midmorning, Kabler was released from the hospital and returned to the fire scene to check in with his colleagues. By early afternoon, the 36-year-old was home with his wife and four children.

    Kabler said he owes his life to his department's rapid-intervention training and to the rescue efforts of his fellow firefighters.

    "I told them, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here right now," he said.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service
    I'm very happy that he is doing better. I can't imagine the absolute terror he felt.

    I hope everyone who operates interior reads this.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."


  2. #2
    Forum Member bharer75's Avatar
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    thank god he was wearing his breather... hope he makes a full recovery

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Son of a B...... But well done to FF Kabler and especially to the boys who got him out.

    Best wishes to him for a fast and full recovery!

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    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    I can't imagine that feeling of "this is it" and I don't want to.


    Great job by those boys to pull him out. Takes huge balls not to panic in that situation either. Good job all around.

    We cheated the reaper on that one!!!
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    Kabler added that a voice from above was a lifeline of sorts.

    "If it wasn't for a firefighter being there on the roof and communicating with me, I would have lost hope," he said.
    This quote got me...
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    I can't imagine that feeling of "this is it" and I don't want to.


    Great job by those boys to pull him out. Takes huge balls not to panic in that situation either. Good job all around.

    We cheated the reaper on that one!!!
    AMEN! there.

  7. #7
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    This hits way to close to home. Good luck and a speedy recovery.

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    Default Great Save

    As the Fire Chief of the Oakland VFC in Stonycreek Twp. the fire was in my fire district. The RIT was set at the beginning of the fire, and I have to say thank god that it was. This is an eye opener that anything can happen. We are fortunate for good training and dedicated firefighters for this one.

    Thomas L. Callihan
    Fire Chief
    Oakland VFC
    tlc@whsd.org

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