Firefighters speak out about being trapped in fire

Providence firefighters Dan Rinaldi and Jay LaSalle were trapped in the fire for 30 minutes after something collapsed in the structure


By FireRescue1 Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two firefighters described their experience while being trapped inside a fire.

WPRI reported that more than 100 firefighters, including Providence firefighters Dan Rinaldi and Jay LaSalle, responded to a fire that involved several homes. The two firefighters had just finished checking one of the houses when they headed into another.

“When you looked at this house, you knew there was a little bit of fire in the roof, but we do this every single day,” Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi and LaSalle said it wasn’t long after they entered the home with refilled air supplies that something collapsed, and LaSalle said he instantly began looking for Rinaldi.

“I got down and crawled over to him, and that’s when he told me he was trapped,” LaSalle said. “His radio was broken and I had to call mayday.”

Rinaldi said he realized the top of the building had collapsed on him and he couldn’t move. LaSalle had to make a mayday call because Rinaldi’s radio was broken.

The two firefighters were in the house for 30 minutes before they were freed from the fire. Before they were rescued, Rinaldi said he began making plans.

“I think it was a realistic conclusion to come to thinking that there may be nobody coming to get you at this point,” Rinaldi said. “Standing in that stairwell, I’m thinking about Danny. When I got on [the force] 12 years ago, Danny was one of the senior guys. A mentor. Someone to look up to. Now he’s a good friend. He’s someone I work with regularly. I’m thinking I’m watching him die.”

Rinaldi was eventually extracted from the fire and is now on leave due to burns he suffered.

“He’s out because of the guys and ladies that you work with,” LaSalle said. “Because they did their job beyond expectations to get him out. Gives you confidence going into those situations that you have a great group of people you work with that you can rely on.”

 

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