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Four firefighters suffer heat injuries Monday at Richland downtown blaze
Four firefighters suffer heat injuries Monday at Richland downtown blaze

Ambulance personnel treated St. Robert firefighter Felton Shoemaker for heat exhaustion.
RICHLAND, Mo. (July 5, 2010) — Two firefighters have been overcome by heat at the scene of the Dollar Store blaze in downtown Richland, according to Pulaski County Ambulance District Administrator Gary Carmack.

Firefighters from six departments have been fighting the blaze since about 2:45 p.m. on Pine Street, one of Richland’s major downtown streets. One St. Robert firefighter, Felton Shoemaker, and Tri-County firefighter Angie Gayer suffered minor injuries, Carmack said.

The Tri-County firefighter was transported to St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation, Carmack said, but was subsequently released. Shoemaker is still on the fire scene in an ambulance being treated with multiple IVs.

“The doctors said as as long as we’re on scene to keep him here, but if he doesn’t improve we’re going to transport him,” Carmack said earlier in the day. Shoemaker was eventually cleared to leave the ambulance without being transported.

Pulaski County Red Cross personnel are also on scene, with county unit supervisor Joe Krill and the Red Cross unit’s emergency response vehicle.

This is the first time the Pulaski County Red Cross unit has used its emergency
response vehicle on a fire scene, Krill said; the converted ambulance once belonged to the Dixon Ambulance District and was then used in the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department as a command vehicle before being donated to the Red Cross.

“I usually respond in my car, but I had so much water that we brought it,” Krill said. “Wal-Mart donated a whole pallet full of water bottles so we used the vehicle to bring water, snacks and food for the firefighters.”

Krill said a total of 1,500 to 1,800 bottles of water are on the fire scene to serve dozens of emergency response personnel, along with food in the event the blaze becomes a protracted fire scene.

Carmack said a total of four ambulances are on the fire scene to conduct rehab for the firefighters because of the hot weather, which topped 90 degrees earlier in the day.

“We’ve got four firefighters right now in the back of ambulances getting hydrated and checked over. We also have Phelps County and Dixon ambulances as well as Fort Leonard Wood on standby,” Carmack said. “We wanted to make sure we had enough resources available; you never know what could happen and we want to be ready in case things go bad.”

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