Injured Riverdale firefighters tell about their experience
Four Prince George’s County firefighters are recovering together after being injured in a house fire in Riverdale Friday.
On Monday the injured men spoke exclusively to ABC7s Jennifer Donelan.
WATCH ABC7 reporter Jennifer Donelan speak to the firefighters about their harrowing experience.
The families of two Prince George’s County firefighters spoke out as well.
“Without the right training, if they didn't take it seriously, they would not have made it out alive. There's no doubt about it,” said Jeff O’Toole, whose son Kevin was critically hurt in the fire.
A total of seven firefighters were injured after being overwhelmed by the flash fire. Of them, Kevin O'Toole and Ethan Sorrell suffered the most serious injuries.
O'Toole, 22, a Bladensburg Volunteer firefighter from Long Island, New York suffered second and third degree burns to 40 percent of his body.
O'Toole had skin graft surgery on several of his burns which went well.
Sorrell, 21, a Bladensburg Volunteer firefighter from Durham, North Carolina suffered burns to his upper body and his airway.
On Monday, Sorrell was taken off a ventilator and was breathing on his own. He was also encouraged to walk the hallways and had the opportunity to spend time with some visitors.
The firefighters were responding to a fire at a home in Riverdale when just eight seconds after entering, a flash fire overwhelmed them.
“A lot of screaming “recalled Vann Sorrell, Kevin’s father. “A lot of people yelling who were burning."
“We just pray everyday that the lord will bless him and strengthen him and see him through this,” said Lt. Mike Naples, Riverdale Fire Department.
Firefighter Michael McClary, 19, escaped with rib cartilage damage and first degree burns on his hands.
His mother, Cheryl McClary, says "underneath it all we're all one big family. And though some of us are strangers we're all the same.
There to help them get back on their feet is volunteer Fire Chief Chuck Ryan. Last April, Ryan--a veteran member of the D.C. Fire Department--was burned on 40 percent of his body and almost died in a flashover.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.