Viral firefighter helmet cam video shows man's rescue

Fire happened earlier this month in Staunton


STAUNTON, Va. – A video of Virginia firefighters rescuing a man while battling a house fire earlier this month has gone viral. Firefighters responded to the fire on North Augusta Street in Staunton the night of April 12 and into the next morning.

This is a 4 minute video from the fire on April 12, 2018. It is comprised of helmet camera videos from FF Davis and FF Bradley. The victim has given us permission to post the portion involving the rescue. The video is being posted to show 2 main things: 1) the quick response and proper application of water drastically decreased the amount of fire within seconds; 2) inside you cannot see very well, unlike how the movies or television depicts it to be. The smoke is full of toxic gases that will quickly overcome you.

Posted by Staunton Fire and Rescue on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"When Engine One got there, they had heavy fire showing from the front of the house," said Joel Bradley, one of the Staunton firefighters who captured the fire and rescue on his helmet camera.

Bradley said firefighters didn't know a man was trapped inside until he and other firefighters entered the house.

"We got in, opened the door, it was pretty much zero visibility, smoke, and he got down and said, 'We have a victim,'" Bradley said.

Bradley and another firefighter pulled the man from the burning home and Bradley started CPR.

"This was the first time we knew of anybody being in there," Bradley said. "We always expect fire and expect to have that, but it's kind of surreal when it's right in front of you."

The man they rescued survived. He stopped by the department a few days later to thank firefighters for their work.

"To come back and actually be able to talk to us and speak with us was pretty surreal, very humbling experience," Bradley said.

The department said it wanted to share the video to give people a realistic view of what they do.

The video "showed what these firefighters went through, what they actually did and were able to achieve that night," said Chief Scott Garber, with the City of Staunton Fire and Rescue.

Bradley said video from the helmet cams they use serves as a training tool.

"You can look back on the footage and see what we did right, what we did wrong, what we can improve on, so it's a great learning tool," Bradley said.

Garber said the combination of a three-minute response time, regular training and the proper tactics helped firefighters save the man's life and keep more of his property from being destroyed.

"I don't think they could have handled it any better than they did," Garber said. "They prepare for that every day."  

"That's our jobs. When we come to work, we're expected to go fight fires. And if there's someone in there, we're expected to bring them out," Bradley said. 

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