I was hanging out at the fire station on October 28, 2007 It was a cold autumn night with snow starting to come down hard and out of nowhere. We got dispatched at 00:30 hours to a structure fire. Neighbors said they were not sure if everyone got out in time.
At 00:35 My ladder company and rescue station crew pulled up to a fully engulfed house. I took command of the scene and gave the crew present with me there tasks. To get them started on knocking the flames down. I was the phone with dispatch to get more companies to be have more hands on scene. As I was on the phone with the next town department when I was approached by a women in tears. I asked how I could help she said my 3 year old son and dog are still in the house.
At 00:45 I went full force into the house and started a scene search to find the the little boy and his dog. I searched every room of the house moving everything to find him while dealing with the intense heat from the flames. I finally made it to the upstairs where the bedrooms were going room by room while hearing the wood crackling around and having time against me because as they were extinguishing the flames the roof was starting to freeze over and turn to ice.
At 1:45 I finally heard a faint cry and found him hiding in his bedroom closet with his blanket stuffed animal and the dog laying over him to protect him. I knew if I could wrap the dog up and get him out the little boy would follow me. I took my oxygen off to put on the little boy while I handed the dog out to partner I turned back swept the Little boy to hand him out to my partner as I was handing him out I heard the roof buckle and structure giving way under me. I remember Captain asking where is Hollie. My partner said she was in the little boys room last trying to make her way out of the house.
About 1:50 the house and roof collapsed pinning me between floors. I thought I could make it out but I couldn't even move. My crew said they pulled me out started CPR and First Aide. I was pronounced dead right on the scene of at 2:15 hours.
They transported me to the hospital. Captain and my parents were at the hospital when I got there dead. My father and mother hugged me and as I felt the tears from my parents eyes hit my face I opened my eyes for a few.
I spent the next month in ICU in a medical induced coma to give my brain and body time to start the healing process. When I came around my first thing I asked was why am I in the hospital and were is my gear. When I went to move I was completely paralyzed and when my parents, captain, doctors and nurses uncovered me I freaked out seeing all the tubes and being in a full body cast. I thought it was the next day but when they said I had been in the hospital for over a month I was so confused. The last thing I remember was handing the little boy out and heard the snap and from the floor and roof.
I was told I would never walk, talk, or return to my job. I would end up a vegtable and live the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I was so determined to prove the doctors all wrong. Spent 6 long months in rehabilitation. Having to learn how to talk, walk, get dressed and even feed myself. I had a great crew and Captain who stopped by every day along with my parents by my side through the whole thing. No one ever gave up on me. There were many times I said through the battle that I wished I was dead. But I know there was a purpose of why I was brought back to life. I went back part time to fire and rescue very limited on what I could do. But did not stop me when I was able to return full time to full duties. I went back to running into the burning buildings and putting my life on the line to help others in need.
I have scars emotionally and physically to remind me what I have been through and will always be there. I try to look past the suffering and pain from that tragic day.
As I say I am the first one in and last one out.