Injured Firefighter Recounts Events

After being injured during a live exercise a Palisade firefighter says he's learned some valuable lessons.

Suffering dehydration and steam burns, firefighter Clint Swain and a 16-year-old cadet had to be rushed to the hospital but just days later they're back on the job.

It was about as real as it gets for firefighters as Clint Swain and his 16-year-old cadet J.R. Korver were working a protective hose line when Swain noticed the aspiring smoke eater looked a little off.

"I noticed something when he was not comprehending what I was saying," Swain said.

Shortly after Korver was pulled back for treatment of dehydration and steam burns Swain himself realized he was in the same situation.

"A minute later I realized not feeling well and the last thing I remember was calling for help on my radio," Swain said.

The exercise continued until the house on West 8th Street was reduced to ashes, but out of the charred remains came some lessons.

"Biggest thing was I have to listen to myself, I didn't call for help fast enough and I feel responsible for my cadet," Swain said.

"Firefighters are macho, don't want to ask for help and will stick it out to the end," Palisade Fire Chief Richard Rupp said.

Firefighters say real time exercises are the best training scenarios and can also serve as skill sharpening tools and reminders of the inherent risks.

The injuries have also strengthened the unity within the firehouse, something which Rupp says will have a positive impact in the long run.