1st firefighters at Vegas massacre came across it by chance - WFSB 3 Connecticut

1st firefighters at Vegas massacre came across it by chance

Posted: Updated:
Clark County Fire Department engineer Brian Emery stands by one of his agency's Mass Casualty Incident vehicles in Las Vegas on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Anita Snow) Clark County Fire Department engineer Brian Emery stands by one of his agency's Mass Casualty Incident vehicles in Las Vegas on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Anita Snow)

By Anita Snow,  Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Fire engineer Brian Emery was driving his station's engine back from a call for a minor car crash when hundreds of hysterical people began swarming the vehicle near an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas.

"Then, suddenly, we heard automatic gunfire," Emery recalled Thursday after his crew became the first to respond to the deadliest shooting in modern American history.

It was pure coincidence that the Clark County Fire Department crew members on Engine 11 — Emery, team leader Capt. Ken O'Shaughnessy and two firefighters, including a rookie — were the first on-duty emergency personnel to arrive Sunday night.

Emery said the surge of people forced him to stop the firetruck just a few blocks from the outdoor venue where Stephen Paddock unleashed gunfire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino just after 10 p.m.

"There were so many people around us, initially I couldn't drive out of there," Emery said.

Finally, there was a break in the crush of people and he inched the engine to a parking area. The crew began treating patients brought by concertgoers, which including off-duty emergency workers.

"After my 15 years as a paramedic, it was just automatic," he said. "You just go to work and do what you know how to do."

Over the next hours, the crew treated some 30 people with a range of injuries, including those who had been stepped on and crushed in the frantic crowd but largely gunshot victims struck by high-caliber fire.

They put the wounded in whatever vehicles passed by — patrol cars or private vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Clark County Fire Department started getting the first of 32 calls from multiple locations about people with gunshot wounds — from different hotels in the area, hospitals, a restaurant.

Fire Chief Greg Cassell said it took dispatchers a few minutes to understand that all the calls were connected to the same incident, "so that complicated our response."

Cassell said that some 160 fire personnel arrived before long. Some, like Deputy Fire Chief Joe Klassen, were called in from home, in his case awakened by text messages from the department and a frantic call from an ambulance driver friend. Once there, he helped lead arriving teams on the ground.

"Fortunately, I had my uniform pressed and ready for Monday morning," he said.

After setting up, Klassen said many off-duty firefighters and police officers approached him to offer help, hailing from places such as California, New Mexico and New York.

Emery's engine crew, meanwhile, kept working on the wounded until after the sun came up, heading back to their station just 400 feet from the iconic Las Vegas sign around 7 a.m.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • White House pushes ahead with Mideast peace plan

    White House pushes ahead with Mideast peace plan

    Saturday, May 19 2018 12:25 AM EDT2018-05-19 04:25:02 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 10:12 AM EDT2018-05-20 14:12:39 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). White House senior adviser Jared Kushner shakes hands with President Donald Trump during an event on prison reform in the East Room of the White House, Friday, May 18, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). White House senior adviser Jared Kushner shakes hands with President Donald Trump during an event on prison reform in the East Room of the White House, Friday, May 18, 2018, in Washington.
    The Trump administration is aiming to roll out its much-hyped but long-delayed Middle East peace plan next month amid signs it may further alienate the Palestinians by slashing funding for humanitarian and...More >
    The Trump administration is aiming to roll out its much-hyped but long-delayed Middle East peace plan next month amid signs it may further alienate the Palestinians by slashing funding for humanitarian and development projects in the West Bank and Gaza.More >
  • Mother of victim says alleged Texas school shooter asked her daughter on date, was rejected

    Mother of victim says alleged Texas school shooter asked her daughter on date, was rejected

    Saturday, May 19 2018 1:19 AM EDT2018-05-19 05:19:36 GMT
    A shooter has been reported at Texas' Santa Fe High School, the school district there said. The district is on lockdown.A shooter has been reported at Texas' Santa Fe High School, the school district there said. The district is on lockdown.
    The teenager who allegedly used a shotgun and a revolver to kill 10 people and wound 10 others at a Texas high school Friday admitted he didn't shoot people he liked and meant to kill the ones he did target, a...More >
    Sadie Baze says she keeps expecting her daughter to walk into the house, but Shana Fisher was killed Friday, one of 10 people gunned down at her high school.More >
  • Texas school shooting kills 10, deadliest since Parkland

    Texas school shooting kills 10, deadliest since Parkland

    Saturday, May 19 2018 12:06 AM EDT2018-05-19 04:06:48 GMT
    Multiple people have died as a result of a shooting Friday morning at a high school in the southeastern Texas city of Santa Fe, two law enforcement sources told CNN.  (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News Via AP)Multiple people have died as a result of a shooting Friday morning at a high school in the southeastern Texas city of Santa Fe, two law enforcement sources told CNN. (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News Via AP)

    Ten people have died as a result of a shooting Friday morning at a high school in the southeastern Texas city of Santa Fe, law enforcement officials said.

    More >

    Ten people have died as a result of a shooting Friday morning at a high school in the southeastern Texas city of Santa Fe, law enforcement officials said.

    More >