Lunacy is everywhere in our nation, and evidence of that fact comes from the story of two firemen trying to do the right thing, then being punished. They saved a dying little girl’s life, but rather than get a reward for heroism, they found themselves on the receiving end of a strict punishment.
The two fireman are from Stafford County, Virginia, and they volunteer for the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Fredericksburg. Last Saturday, they received a call about an 18-month-old girl having a seizure near a McDonald’s and were the first on scene, but their life-saving actions would end up earning them a suspension rather than a reward.
Captain James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom both received a suspension after transporting the little girl to the hospital in their fire engine because the ambulance was too far away to wait. According to WTTG-TV, what they did was in violation of the rules, and despite the girl’s father crediting the two men with saving her life, their supervisor decided not to give them a pass.
WTTG-TV has more on the enraging incident:
FOX 5’s Paul Wagner spoke to Kelley, who is a D.C. firefighter who also volunteers in Stafford County, about the incident on Saturday. Kelley said he immediately told the driver of the truck to turn on the engine because the child was in dire need of a hospital. Based on a previous call location for the nearest medic, Kelley said he thought it would be at least 10 to 15 minutes before one could arrive at the restaurant.
Kelley said he asked for a location from the nearest medic, but didn’t receive a specific answer until after his second request, and even then, the information he got was “southbound on Route 1,” without any other specifics. Kelley also said he asked for mutual aid from the city of Fredericksburg, but no one was ever dispatched.
After the child was put into the fire engine and they were en route to Mary Washington Hospital, Kelley says another ambulance requested to meet up with the engine at Falmouth Station—but because of his proximity to the hospital at that point, Kelley denied that request.
Thanks to Kelly and Bloom’s quick thinking, the little girl was put on oxygen in their fire engine and was in the emergency room within 13 minutes of the call being placed. She had paralysis on the entire left side of her body as well, but her father, Brian Nunamaker, said that she’s going to be just fine after the two men did what was necessary to get her life-saving treatment.
“As a parent, you feel extremely helpless to be unable to assist the most important person in the world (your child) during such a time of emergency,” Nunamaker wrote in a statement. “Worst case scenarios run through your head while you are hoping for the best. The eternity of waiting for help to arrive was surprisingly non-existent in this situation. I was surprised at how quickly help had arrived in the form of a fire truck.”
Kelley said that while he and Bloom may have been punished, he doesn’t regret his actions for a second.
“I would not hesitate, I would do the exact same thing 100 percent 10 times out of 10,” he told WUSA. “I sleep well at night knowing I provided good care to that young lady.”
Stafford Fire and Rescue Department Assistant Chief Mark refused comment on the matter, citing that he’s not allowed to discuss potential regulatory compliance issues while they’re under review. As for the Nunamakers, they’re beyond grateful for the men’s actions, and feel horrible that they were shafted by their department.
“My wife and I feel terrible for the fallout that has happened to these two gentlemen,” Nunamaker said. “They simply had the best interests for our daughter’s care in mind. 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.”