BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — Officials gave an update on the condition of several first responders who were hurt after a building collapsed while they were responding to a medical call.
At around 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, Burlington firefighters, the Whitsett Fire Department and Guilford County Emergency Services came to the 500 block of Brycewood Drive in response to an emergency medical call.
The patient was having a medical emergency on the roof of an outbuilding that was under construction, which officials identified as a cardiac arrest.
Officials say that Whitsett Fire Department arrived first, within a few minutes of the call, and began to provide aid. Additional resources arrived and while they were working to lower the patient to the ground, the building collapsed. The patient and several firefighters all fell to the ground alongside the building debris.
The Gibsonville Fire Department and additional Guilford County EMS resources were sent to the scene to assist after the collapse.
Officials say that six firefighters were taken to local hospitals for treatment. A firefighter who works with Guilford County Emergency Services underwent surgery and remains in the hospital, with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Among the various injuries were a fractured wrist and lacerations to the head.
The patient, a 54-year-old man, who suffered cardiac arrest on the roof of the structure died at the scene. They do believe that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
Officials said during the press conference that there didn’t seem to be any warning of the building collapsing.
“There’s always risk involved to the firefighters in many things that they do,” said Daniel Shoffner, battalion chief for Burlington EMS.
First responders said this was a first-of-its-kind incident.
People living in the neighborhood said the entire street was lined with first responder vehicles. Our crews talked with one woman who was on her back porch and watched as the shed collapsed with several people on top of it.
“When I got over there, all I could hear was people screaming in pain,” McKenzie Jones said.
Jones was visiting her dad’s house on Brycewood Drive Saturday evening and saw two men working on the roof of a shed in the backyard.
“I had seen the next-door neighbor run across the yard, and I asked her what was wrong, and she said the man just collapsed,” she said.
“Next thing I know, there’s the whole street is just lined up with ambulances, policemen,” said Will McClintock, who pulled up to his parents’ home as first responders were arriving. “We had to move our cars down the road to make room for all the vehicles.”
As responders attempted to get the patient off the roof, the building collapsed.
“Whenever the shed collapsed under them, it made a big enough noise that almost everybody around that area came out their house,” Jones said. “It was deafening.”