Noelle Walker

Dallas Firefighters Recount Search and Rescue for 3 of Their Own Trapped in 4-Alarm Fire

On Friday morning, members of Dallas Fire and Rescue's Rapid Intervention Team stood outside fire station 19 and recounted the tense minutes when three members of their team went into a burning condominium building to save three trapped firefighters.

"Well I think every fireman is cut out to go save another fireman," said Capt. Keith Massingill of the Rapid Intervention Team. "When I heard the mayday come out, you think, 'ok, this is real. We're not training anymore.'"

Tuesday morning that mayday call went out after three firefighters were suddenly trapped in a burning condominium building. The trio were in a second floor condo, looking for victims, when conditions rapidly changed and they became victims themselves.

"When we hear that (mayday), that's not something we want to hear," explained Jon Keeler, who was among the three rescuers. "Because we know our own firefighters are trapped."

"The main thing in my head was we've got to go fast," Massingill said. Rescuers were fighting fast moving flames, smoke, and the clock. "Every time I talked and there was a response, I knew they were still there to talk to me."

Dallas Fire and Rescue has two Rapid Intervention Teams. The one from station 19 had just arrived on scene at the fire, and hadn't finished accessing the potential danger when the crisis happened.

'You know, we train for this exact incident almost daily," said Josh Mihalyi, one of the three firefighters who went in to rescue the others. "When you feel that relief of the success, everybody was very, very happy with the way it turned out."

The team said it could have gone much differently.

"We are very fortunate to still have three firefighters with us and not talking about funeral arrangements," said Dallas Fire and Rescue spokesman Jason Evans. "Because that easily could have been the case."

The team said the trapped firefighters were able to tell them where they were, which saved valuable time. Ten minutes after the mayday call, the trio was rescued. The fire department said they all are in great condition and in good spirits.

"Everything went right," said Massingill. "That's because we train and because that's what God wanted to happen that day, and it went right."

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