Firefighters also deal with grief of fatal fire

By Dan Wells - bio | email

LOWER PRICE HILL, OH (FOX19) - We all know that police and firefighters are trained to confront tragedy, but sometimes what they find is almost too hard to bear.

Even before arriving at the scene of a triple-fatal house fire in Lower Price Hill on Monday morning, firefighters say they knew they were going into a grave situation. But nothing can prepare you for the loss of one child, let alone three.

Cincinnati Fire and EMS crews are without a doubt hugging there loved ones even closer as the loss of three innocent children becomes even more real.

As you can imagine, in situations like this, peer support isn't only needed for the family, it's also needed for those EMS professionals who stood on the front lines.

"It's really important to understand they are part of that loss, that was a loss for them even though they may not be the father of those children it is a loss for them," said Chief Otto Huber with the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department.

Huber says post-incident trauma is a very real and gruesome aspect of job.

"In this area, we use the Southwest Ohio Incident Debriefed Team, and they are all our peers," he said. "They've all been professionally trained to help in these situations and they understand how to understand these processes."

Though the approach differs from agency to agency, the general idea is the same. Firefighters involved will be debriefed and a peer group support is set up for those caught in the middle of the incident.

"When they take that turn out gear off they're just like anyone else, they're going home to their wives, their husbands, they are going home to their children," said Huber.

Professionals say it gives firefighters and others the opportunity to talk to someone who can relate to what they're going through confidentially and without judgment.

Fire officials were on the scene of the fire less than two-and-a-half minutes after the call was made, but by the time they got there, flames were already on the first and second floor.