Over 600 emergency calls to fire, police during Orlando shooting
Orlando firefighters treated and sheltered victims at a station fewer than 200 yards from the nightclub
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Fire and Police Departments received over 600 calls the night of the Orlando nightclub mass shooting that left 49 dead and dozens injured.
In a statement from the city attorney, 603 calls were made to the departments, with another 166 calls to 911 during the three-hour ordeal.
Many victims rushed to Orlando Fire Station 5, less than 200 yards from Pulse nightclub when shots were fired.
“They knew something was definitely going down and it was a dangerous and hazardous situation,” District Fire Chief Bryan Davis told the Orlando Sentinel. “Once the gunfire had stopped, they realized the enormity of the situation, what had actually occurred and they were calling for the resources to help them.”
Davis was the commander on duty that night and arrived at the scene after 2 a.m. to find the station had already begun treating gunshot victims.
After setting up triage and transport areas and assessed resources, Davis eventually had about 80 rescue personnel from the city’s fire department, Orange County Fire Rescue and Rural/Metro on scene.
The rescue crews loaded many victims into ambulances for transport, while also treating others on the station’s floor.
Orlando fire crews transported 26 of the 53 victims, but that doesn’t include the double and triple filled ambulances.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” Orlando Fire Chief Roderick Williams said after receiving a call to respond.
Although the department has trained for mass-casualty and active-shooter incidents and explosives situations, Williams’ main concern was whether or not the crew had enough resources and to respond to the situation safely.
“As a fire chief, I couldn’t be prouder. I know they train hard, I know they’re professionals, but most important, they care about this community. So, for them I know it was a heavy burden, but I know they met the challenge,” Williams said.
While many of the first responders have gone through a stress debriefing, Williams said he is watching to see if any have an lingering effects.
“We have employees who are somewhat traumatized by what they experienced but also processing,” Williams said. “I think we have the systems in place, the tools in place to make sure they get the help they need.”