A Dooms, Va. boy is dead following a fatal house fire early Sunday morning (September 30, 2012). Dustyn Fitzgerald was 11 years old and had just started attending Wilson Middle School.
The family was awakened by their 5 year old son’s screams for them to wake up. His room was on fire. The parents and 5 year old’s bedroom were both located on the first floor. Dustyn’s room was on the second.
The home reportedly had smoke detectors in place. The mother stated that they had been recently checked but they were not operating at the time of the fire.
The husband, wife and 5 year old were able to make it safely outside, despite the rapidly deteriorating conditions. The mother, Michelle Gibson; then made several attempts to alert and reach her elder son still trapped on the second floor.
“We were yelling for him and all he kept saying was, mama, mama, I can’t breathe, mama.”
“I kept hollering for him. I thought I heard him coming down the steps but he never came down.”
The call was received at 08:31 and the first unit arrived at 08:37.
The picture to the left was taken just moments after their arrival.
A good friend and well respected Chief from Augusta County sent me this photo and a description of the valiant effort and heroics the Brothers and Sisters of Augusta County Fire / Rescue performed that morning.
Volunteer agencies Dooms, Wilson and New Hope along with career units from Augusta County Fire-Rescue Engine 111 and Waynesboro Fire Dept. were assigned to the alarm.
Waynesboro’s crew quickly stretched a line to the Alpha side in a effort to make a knock on the fire and protect the members from Augusta’s E-111 who were entering from the Delta side to perform a primary search. Dooms quickly established Command while Augusta’s Duty Officer had “Operations”.
Despite heavy fire conditions, extreme heat and extension to the floor above, two members from E111, who were described as two of the youngest; pushed to make the 2nd floor where they were able to locate the downed victim. The child was quickly removed from the structure and turned over to awaiting EMS personnel where he was pronounced dead.
Approximately 30 minutes later, the fire was reported under control.
THIS IS WHY WE TRAIN. It is why we are here. Why we do what we do. Although the outcome was tragic, these Brothers and Sisters did everything within their power to change it. They were obviously “Battle Ready”. They were prepared and responded quickly. They were well trained, properly equipped, and disciplined.
Take another look at the picture above left (taken moments after arrival). What would your size up have been? With “confirmed entrapment” reported, would you have taken time for a walk around? What about the Rules of Engagement? How about Survivability Profiling? With only seconds to sum it up and decide, and that much fire showing upon arrival; would you have made the push ?
It was refreshing to read the Chief’s e-mail. The PRIDE he holds for his men, for his Department and the job was evident in his writing. Like him, I too commend the efforts of all members involved. WELL DONE Brothers … keep up the good work!
Learn more about Augusta County Fire/Rescue by CLICKING HERE
Stay Safe and in House!
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