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Second responders come first during surprise fire call - abc27 WHTM

Second responders come first during surprise fire call

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A talk to remember. Chit-chat during a Susquehanna township EMS shift change Wednesday night ended in saving lives. 

Daniel Tempel was about to clock out from his long shift. Jennifer Carter came in around 11:00 p.m. to the Susquehanna Township EMS station on Short Street to replace Tempel. Both met up with EMT Earl Hoon to talk outside during the shift change. Something started to interrupt the conversation.

"We heard a beeping noise, said Carter. "I said…what's that beeping noise, Earl?

Carter said both thought the beeping sounded like a nearby alarm. All three walked toward the edge of the parking lot when Hoon pointed to a home across the street.

"I said...that looks like a fire! yelled Hoon. "And, I look a little closer and adjusted my eyes....and, I said...that is a fire!

Carter added, "We saw the orange glow of the fire coming through the windows."

Once all three realized what was going on they jumped into action. Hoon quickly got on his radio for help. Carter and Tempel ran across the street to the burning home.

"I checked the window and saw there were heavy flames coming up from the back of the refrigerator. That was licking into the ceiling onto the wall," said Tempel.

Carter said she and Tempel knocked on the door and tried to open it to get inside, but had no luck. Carter ran to the side of the home and found a cracked window to jam open and slide inside. Tempel used his feet.

"I took two swift kicks," he said. "Actually one to the door handle side and one to this side…and made entry."

Progress Fire Company, who is just yards away next door, heard Hoon's dispatch call.

"Carter and Tempel were inside the house trying to wake up the two residents and then the smoke got too thick and they had to get out so they wouldn't have to endanger themselves," said Hoon. "And, then Progress Fire Department came up and did their thing and as they made access...the occupants of the house made their way down the stairs and got out."

Fire crews and EMS crews usually work together in emergency situations, but as the ambulance crews point out, they're usually ‘second responders'.

"It's kind of rare that we encounter something that before someone else calls," said Tempel. "Our job is all about 911 calls and we're always the second ones to the scene."

Hoon said somehow all the dominos fell into place for this call.

"I dunno...it was just luck, maybe," Hoon said. "If we never would've came out, this could've been a lot worse situation." 

Fortunately, a mother and her 13 year-old son were brought to safety. Carter, a paramedic, is used to saving lives on the job, but points to that never includes being next to fire.

"It was scary!" she said. "I usually don't go in burning buildings. I'm usually standing outside waiting for patient to come out...it was scary."

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