Orlando fire chief defends crew's refusal to open station's doors for Pulse victims

Officer writes in incident report wounded Pulse victims not let into station

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando fire chief is defending his crew inside Station Five, after an Orlando officer wrote in an incident report that he saw several wounded Pulse victims not being let into the fire station.

Chief Roderick Williams said that one of the ironies of having the station so close to Pulse, was the area was considered part of the crime scene. He said that department protocol required the firefighters inside the station to wait for law enforcement to deem the area safe, before opening the doors to the station.

"We don't have the equipment or the training to stop bullets," said Roderick. "Our firefighters aren't designed to take on bullets. They don't have guns. We don't carry guns. We don't carry protective gear like law enforcement, bulletproof vests."

The Orlando police officer wrote in his incident report that after he knocked on the station's doors, still no one came to the window. He then had headquarters call the fire department's dispatch to let them in.

"The bay doors went up minutes later. It was just minutes. So, once the scene was deemed safe, we treated," said Williams.

Williams said that if his crew didn't follow protocol, and a shooter was outside the fire station, firefighters could have been injured. Williams said there was a lot of chaos, and crews didn't know if opening the door would allow for a shooter to enter the station.

Williams said one of the victims his Station Five crew helped was reunited with the crew in the hospital.

"They just remembered a white male with a mustache treating him. Our crews a couple days later went to the hospital and actually visited the person, and he thanked them for their heroic effort and their treatment of him that night," said Williams.

Williams also said that the crew inside the station gathered first aid supplies while sheltering in place, anticipating for when they were allowed to open the doors and treat the wounded.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.