Firefighters, medics struggle to cope with Ferguson riots

Rioting, looting, arson and gunfire made it difficult for firefighters and medics to do their jobs

FERGUSON, Mo. — There is no shortage of blame passing after a night of unprecedented looting, arson and violence following the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson over the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Blame aside, fire and EMS personnel found themselves in combat-like situations as they moved under police escort to treat the wounded and attempt to knock down at least a dozen business and auto fires.

FireRescue1's source on the street in Ferguson reported late Monday night that medics were treating injuries such as a journalist being hit in the head with a brick and an apparent cardiac arrest patient near one fire station. Our source was assigned to a SWAT team that included a pumper and strike team.

"They are burning everything," he said shortly before 1 a.m. "Fire responses were hampered by violence and bands of roving crowds throwing rocks and bottles."

Firefighters were limited to mostly master-stream attacks to protect exposures, he said. Those on the ground experienced some communication and control problems. The crews were released at 4 a.m.

"The bottom line," he said, "we came back with everyone we left with and no responders were injured."

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