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Vacationing firefighter helps kids overcome by carbon monoxide

Capt. Terry Welsh returned to police cars in front of his hotel after going for a run with his daughter; he knew something was wrong


By FireRescue1 Staff

NILES, Mich. — A vacationing firefighter jumped into action after hotel officials found six unresponsive children on the deck of an indoor pool Saturday.

Redland Daily Facts reported that Capt. Terry Welsh, a 25-year veteran of the Redlands (Calif.) Fire Department, returned to the Quality Inn & Suites hotel after going for a run with his daughter. He saw two police cars and knew something was wrong.

"When I arrived, they had opened the doors to the pool area and I immediately began to triage patients," Capt. Welsh said. "The odor of the chlorine was pretty strong, you could almost taste it."

The children had been overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning.

"It was obvious something had gone wrong and those kids needed help," Capt. Welsh said. "Seeing those kids passed out around the pool deck, I knew I could help."

The carbon monoxide leak was caused by a malfunctioning pool heater, which killed a 13-year-old and sickened a dozen others. The children ranged in age from 12 to 14.

"We train on these types of scenarios as well as other types of emergency situations all of the time, but you’re never prepared when kids are the victims," Capt. Welsh said.

Redlands Battalion Chief Jim Topoleski praised Welsh's efforts.

"Terry is one of the most selfless people I know," Chief Topoleski said. "He's always first in line to help others and he's that guy that would literally give you the shirt off of his back."

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