Two men in Stafford County, Virginia, may lose their jobs for transporting a toddler, who was in a dire of medical assistance, to the hospital.
Capt. James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom of the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Fredericksburg were the first to respond to a 911 call of a child having a seizure. The 18-month-old baby was blue from her head to her chest and needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Since the nearest ambulance was about 10 to 15 minutes away, the firefighters decided to transport the girl to the hospital in their fire engine.
“The eternity of waiting for help to arrive was surprisingly nonexistent in this situation,” Brian Nunamaker, the child’s father, told Fox 5 DC. “I was surprised at how quickly help had arrived in the form of a fire truck.”
The toddler arrived in the trauma room shortly, where she suffered another seizure, but the doctors were able to stabilize her condition.
However, the two firefighters who ultimately saved her life have been suspended for an indefinite amount of time. Apparently, their fire engine is licensed as a “nontransport unit” and rushing the child to the hospital was deemed a violation of Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department policy.
“It’s taken a toll on me,” said Kelley, adding he has no idea how long the suspension will continue. “It hurts. It’s not only hurting us, it’s hurting the citizens as well, because we’re not staffed enough all the time. It’s taken a toll on a lot of things.”
Fire Chief Christopher Smith said the department never formally charged the unpaid firefighters with any wrongdoing, and that their case is still under review.
Meanwhile, the toddler’s parents, who are incredibly thankful to the heroic act of the two volunteers, have expressed their shock over the authorities’ decision.
“My wife and I feel terrible for the fallout that has happened to these two gentlemen. They simply had the best interests for our daughter’s care in mind,” Nunamaker said. “We are extremely thankful they made the decisions they did, and that our daughter is back home with us doing well. The actions of these men represent a dedication to their mission, and a deep concern of doing what is best for the people they are serving. In our eyes, they are heroes.”
Some online users have even created a Facebook page, demanding the local Virginia authorities reinstate the volunteer firefighters. After all, saving a child’s life is much more important than departmental protocols and regulation.
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