Archive for Thursday, January 27, 2005

Firefighters’ injuries only the beginning

January 27, 2005

A Fairmount Township firefighter broke his leg during a fall from a roof as he battled a house fire Saturday night south of Basehor.

And that was only the beginning of 49-year-old Tony Turner's health problems.

After doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital set Turner's leg, which was broken in two places, complications set in, according to Chuck Magaha, Fairmount's assistant fire chief. Turner suffered some sort of spasm.

"It shut down his vocal chords and his trachea," Magaha said. "When that happened, it cut off his air flow."

Hospital officials estimated he was without oxygen for about a minute and a half.

"They had to give him some medication to relax his body, and once they got his body relaxed, they were able to re-insert a breathing tube," Magaha said.

But Turner apparently suffered no lingering effects -- except his leg was re-injured and had to be set again during surgery Monday night.

On Tuesday, Magaha said Turner was out of intensive care, off the ventilator and breathing on his own. Monday night's surgery went well, he added.

Turner's injuries and the complications following surgery came just about a month after Fairmount firefighter Jared Moore died in a traffic accident as he responded to a car accident just north of Basehor.

The support of other firefighters and emergency workers throughout the county has been tremendous, said Magaha, who also is coordinator for Leavenworth County Emergency Management.

"The mutual response that this county has is just unreal," he said. "All departments work so well together to assist in more ways than saving their own communities' property. They support one another anytime they are asked, whatever the task may be."

Saturday night's blaze damaged a home on 158th Street, just north of Kansas Highway 32. Turner, who is a fire department captain, was injured when he fell from a roof and hit a concrete porch.

The cold temperatures made fighting the fire treacherous.

"We're talking about single-digit temperatures," said Magaha.

The house fire rekindled abut 1 a.m., he said.

"It was a stubborn fire," he said. "It was a good save, but it's going to need extensive work to bring it back up to par."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.