Okla. EMS Providers Awarded for Saving Lives in Burning Building
Aug. 04—Paramedic Chris Turner and Advanced EMT Chelsee Loge arrived at Honor Heights Towers on Aug. 5, 2017 on a routine call.
It soon became far from routine.
Loge and Turner were tending to a patient on the ninth floor when the fire alarm went off. Thick smoke began filling the halls and it became paramount Turner and Loge find safety for as many residents as they could. The duo evacuated occupants who could move and placed immobile people on balconies into clean air.
"I kept telling myself to stay calm," Turner said. "At that point I was trying to save as many people as we could."
Turner and Loge were given the Golden Eagle Award on July 26 at the Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technician Association (OEMTA) Medic Update as Advanced EMS Providers of the Year.
After moving their patient to a cot, the pair started knocking on doors to alert people.
"We did the only thing we knew to do at that time," Turner said. "Chelsee went down one side of the hallway, and I went down the other, and we just cleared as many floors as we could."
Once they had helped everyone they could, Loge and Turner returned to their initial patient and carried him down nine floors on a sheet.
"He was already unable to move well, so we had to carry him down," Loge said. "Chris was at his head, and I was at his feet, and we moved him down slowly. We did the best we could with what we had."
Loge said the full intensity of what happened to them didn't hit the pair until they were out of the building. Loge and Turner were taken to a nearby hospital and treated for heat exhaustion.
"You get adrenaline pulsing through your veins," Loge said. "But then you get a chance to breathe and you start thinking about it. Chris and I were both kind of shaken."
Muskogee EMS Community Relations Coordinator Trisha German praised Loge and Turner's "quick action and diligence" in a media release.
"Due to their attentiveness and thoughtfulness, injuries were minimal and loss of life was avoided," German said in the release.
Both Loge and Turner said the award was unexpected.
"It was nice to be honored and be recognized," Loge said. "I don't think people realize what EMTs have to do, sometimes, the situations they can be put into."
Turner said he did not become a paramedic for any recognition.
"We feel it's a calling," Turner said. "We get the satisfaction of helping people."