Idaho Firefighters Band Together for Colleague's Daughter

July 10, 2013
Nampa firefighters and police officers have flooded the waiting room.

July 10--Nampa firefighters were the first authorities to reach the crash site.

Deputy Fire Chief Doug Strosnider described a heart-wrenching scene. Alyson Defur, 4, the daughter of Nampa firefighter Sarah Defur, did not have a pulse when firefighters reached the wreck.

"When I got there, one of the battalion chiefs and her dad both said 'she's dead,'" he said.

Alyson's heart did not start again until she reached the hospital.

The Nampa girl remains in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit of St. Luke's Children's Hospital after the truck she was riding in with her parents, grandparents and 1-year-old brother rolled.

Alyson suffered a serious brain injury when the pickup was struck by a van that failed to yield at the Lake Avenue and Orchard Street intersection, police said. The girl's heart and lungs were also injured. Both Alyson and her brother were strapped into their car seats when the pickup rolled, Strosnider said.

Alyson's parents, Sarah and Thomas Defur; grandparents, Randell and Pamela Romans; and brother Noah were all taken to area hospitals, but all have since been released.

The driver of the van, 18-year-old Kayla Bartrop, and her passengers, 40-year-old Krisa Petrowske and a child who has not been publicly identified, were also treated and released from local hospitals.

"It's traumatic. Our guys respond to people and deal with these kinds of incidents, but you're detached in the sense that you do what you can, you use all your training to help someone, and then they're off for someone else to care for," he said. "This time you're following through the entire deal."

A steady stream of firefighters and police have visited the Children's Hospital, Strosnider said. Sarah Defur previously worked with the Boise Police Department, and a number of officers came to the hospital to support the family.

"You've got all of these firemen sitting around in an emergency room. They need something to do. They could probably take down the hospital and rebuild it." he said. "That would be better for them, to do something, where they feel like they're getting something accomplished."

Strosnider spent Sunday night at the hospital and returned Monday night. He planned to be there Tuesday night as well, he said. St. Luke's has not released information about Alyson's condition.

"It's been tough," Strosnider said. "I mean, she's 4 years old. I can't imagine, as a parent. Your heart just goes out to everybody."

And, Strosnider worries about Bartrop, Petrowske and the child in the van that hit the truck.

"We extend our care and love to the other family that was involved in this," he said. "That family, they're affected also."

An account has been set up for Alyson on CaringBridge to keep friends and family updated on her condition. Supporters can also donate through the site. Journal entries posted there say that doctors have stabilized the girl's heart and lungs, but remain concerned about her brain injury.

The true extent of Alyson's injuries will not be known until swelling goes down. For now, Strosnider said, all they can do is wait.

"Firefighters are action people. You give us a problem and we're going to solve it," he said. "This is so challenging because it's out of our hands. It's in God's hands."

Katie Terhune: 377-6219; Twitter: IDS_Terhune

Copyright 2013 - The Idaho Statesman

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