NEW ORLEANS – It’s been a month since the Hard Rock Hotel’s collapse and our first responders were put to the ultimate test. They showed us what that day was like through their lens.
“As we pulled up I remember seeing one guy waving his hands going crazy. It was obvious, he needed to be rescued immediately” first responder, Douglas Shanahan told WGNO. “I said to myself ‘let’s do this as quick as we can so me and the other firefighter who was with me could get home.'”
Douglas Shanahan was one of the first firefighters on the scene that Saturday. He and his squad rescued two people after the collapse.
While the citizens were a priority–“there was also a bit of fear in me, personally and for the crew that was working with me that day.”
Douglas, the rest of the NOFD, the EMS and the NOPD sacrificed their safety for to ensure the best possible outcome.
But that’s not all they sacrifice to be in the line of duty.
“They’re here regardless of whether it’s weekends, holidays, you know, they’re away from their families” NOFD Fire Chief, Tim McConnell said.
Chief McConnell also mentioned a misconception many people believe.
“They assume somebody else called. So quite often, they’ll get a call and people will say ‘it took so long to get here!’ And when we go back and review the 911 tapes, nobody called early. If no one called, we can’t respond.”
Another misconception is the cost of each fire truck. Heavy rescue units are $500,000 dollars and ladder trucks are one million dollars! So the cost to keep these up– it’s expensive! But the cost of a life– priceless.
“Making the successful was by far one of the most fulfilling things that I’ve done so far. Having those people having those people able to go back home to their families makes it all worth while.”