10/13/13 330 W, 2 I - + 4 - 3 From The Washington Post: Cold Air. Then Heat. Then Terror

You may have already heard about this (Statter911.com, Firefighter Close Calls, etc.), but yesterday's Washington Post published a superb story by J. Freedom du Lac about Kevin O'Toole and Ethan Sorrell. They're the firefighters from Bladenburg, MD, who were badly injured in February 2012, in a house fire in Riverdale Heights. (See prior posting about the incident, which injured five other firefighters.) The Post story recaps the incident (and with a seven-part diagram of what happened), the treatments endured by O'Toole and Sorrell, and their status and conditions today.

O'Toole, who suffered the worst injuries from the intentionally-set fire, has undergone thirteen operations. Mostly recently, they've been reconstructing his hands. He's living in Long Island and still recovering, and is still hoping for a career in the fire service. He's 22 years-old. Sorrell, a native from our state, survived inhalation burns, and first- and second-degree burns around his head, arms, chest, and back. He was released from the burn center after four days, but soon returned to be by O'Toole's side for the rest of his stay. He moved back to his parents home in Buis Creek, and was hired as a career firefighter by the Fuquay-Varina Fire Department here in Wake County. 

When off-duty, Sorrell works part-time in construction and landscape. He also tries to take volunteer shifts both at Buies Creek Fire Department and back at Bladensburg. There's a plaque at the firehouse inscribed with his and O'Toole's names. The date and details of the fire are also listed. Mounted above the plaque are the flat-headed axe and Halligan bar that O'Toole carried through the burning house. As the story notes, the plaque reads "These irons serve as a constant reminder that anything can happen without notice" [and] "every incident is the call of your career until proven otherwise."

Read the Washington Post story

Ricky Carioti/Washington Post photo

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