Firefighters step up to provide quick response during Las Vegas shooting

Firefighters from the Las Vegas Fire Department as well as off-duty concertgoers jumped into action to save as many lives as possible


By FireRescue1 Staff

LAS VEGAS — Off-duty firefighters from several departments attending the country music festival provided aid to victims in the Las Vegas shooting, according to officials.

A news conference held by the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada, as well as statements from other departments shed light on the heroism of firefighters who helped victims after the attack.

“It’s time to get to work”

In a press conference held by the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada, Las Vegas firefighter and paramedic Benjamin Kole said he and his corrections officer friend took cover after bullets rained down on the concertgoers.

“At that time, I realized that my daughter was still there,” Kole said.

Kole’s daughter Rachel was working with an EMS agency for the event, and after finding her he said he knew they had to help.

“We embraced each other, shed a few tears, looked at each other and said, ‘It’s time to get to work,’” Kole said.

The two set up a triage area to aid victims and called dispatch to set up an area for EMS providers to report to.

“One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made”

Clark County firefighter Jesse Gomez attended the concert with his family. As they were escaping the gunfire, Gomez said he saw a woman bleeding from her head on the ground. He told his wife he had to help.

“She said I had the keys, so I ran back to the car and I handed her the keys and she begged me not to go,” Gomez said. “It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but she knew I had to go.”

His wife took a victim to the hospital as he took others to the street. Gomez added that he had to convince people reluctant to leave their dead loved ones behind to run for their lives.

Commandeered ambulance

Former Washington firefighter and EMT Scott Pettersen, who was attending the concert, said he found an ambulance with no crew inside and used the supplies to help victims, according to KIRO7.

"I ran to this aid car," he said. "So I told the family with the kids to get in the back and I shut the side door. I opened the back doors, and the second I opened them, there was already four people wounded there, waiting.”

Pettersen said he lost count of how many people he helped.

“I grabbed gauze, grabbed bandages and started wrapping a guy up, and another guy came up who was shot in the back, and I started wrapping him," he said. “Then two seconds later a woman arrived who was shot in the back of her leg followed by a man with a shoulder wound, followed by a woman with a neck wound. It didn't stop."

Helping triage patients

Three off-duty firefighters from the Alameda County Fire Department in California immediately jumped into action to help save lives, according to SFGate.com.

“Located toward the front of the stage, the ACFD firefighters helped triage patients and did what they could to assist the wounded and deceased,” the department said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our members and their families, and everyone impacted by this horrific tragedy,” the department added.

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