Two firefighters in Stafford County have been suspended after taking an 18-month old child to the hospital in a fire engine, according to WTTG. The little girl’s father told WTTG that he was grateful for what the two firefighters did that may have saved his daughter’s life.
The suspended firefighters, Captain James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom, who both volunteer for the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Fredericksburg, were the first to respond to the scene last Saturday when they were called for a child having a seizure.
According to WTTG, Kelley asked where the nearest medic was, but he said he didn’t get a response until asking a second time. He said the only information he got was “southbound on Route 1.” Kelley also said he asked for mutual aid from Fredericksburg, but he said no one was dispatched.
Instead, the firefighters agreed to take matters into their own hands and take the child to Mary Washington Hospital in their fire engine. On their way to the hospital, Kelley said another ambulance requested to meet up with them at Falmouth Station, but Kelley said he denied the request because they were almost at the hospital.
The little girl’s father, Brian Nunamaker, spoke about the incident Saturday. He said they were on their way home from running errands and decided to pull over and call 911 after realizing his daughter was having a seizure. He also said a passerby stopped to help.
Nunamaker told WTTG that his daughter’s condition changed and was limp when he handed her over to the firefighters. He said they asked a few questions and then took off to get her to the hospital.
Nunamaker said his daughter was having another seizure in the emergency room when he arrived at the hospital. It stopped, but doctors were concerned about possible paralysis on the left side of her body.
His daughter was eventually transferred to VCU Medical Center. Now she is at home and doing ok. “My wife and I are extremely grateful for the assistance provided by the first responders, 911 operator, medical staff at Mary Washington and VCU, and the passerby that stopped by to assist,” he told WTTG.
However on Saturday, he heard the news that the firefighters who helped saved his daughter’s life were suspended for their actions. He released a statement to WTTG that read in part, “My wife and I feel terrible for the fallout that has happened to these two gentlemen.”
Kelley said he and Bloom were suspended by the county because Kelley’s fire engine is licensed as a “non-transport unit” and did not have the proper restraints that medic units have.
A Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson released a statement to WTTG saying the situation is under review, and therefore, the fire department could not comment.