Teen Alerts Firefighters to Fallen Comrade


 
 

Matthew Kemeny | | Monday, November 10, 2008


MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- Smoke poured from a house in front of her, but Chelsey Camp's eyes zeroed in on the firefighter at the corner who had been pumping water from the engine.

He had collapsed. The 17-year-old knew she had to act fast.

Chelsey jumped off the porch of her Middletown house across the street from the burning home and hustled toward the firefighters who were battling the blaze and had not noticed their colleague's collapse.

"I yelled, 'Your firefighter is down! He's lying on the ground!'" she recalled.

A group ran from the blaze and started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Steve Weaver, a Lower Swatara Twp. firefighter. They used defibrillators to jolt his heart. Minutes later, an ambulance arrived and took Weaver, 54, to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where he was recovering last night.

"He has a road to recovery, but he's doing OK," Lower Swatara Twp. Fire Chief Robert Furlong said Monday evening.

Chelsey, a senior at Lower Dauphin High School who was home on suspension, said she was scared but acted on instinct.

"I feel good," said Chelsey, who plans to enlist in the National Guard after graduation and one day wants to teach autistic children. "I feel like I did something."

Chelsey, who lives on Market Street with her parents, Michael and Mechel, said she initially heard what she described as an explosion. After letting her father know, the pair went out to the porch.

That's when Chelsey noticed the firefighter collapse by a green and silver hydrant at Market and South Wood streets.

"I looked down and saw his legs flop in the air," Michael Camp, 39, said.

The fire began about 2: 30 p.m. in a shed behind a home in the 200 block of Russell Avenue. Flames decimated the shed and latched onto the roof of the house. Firefighters cut a hole in the roof and extinguished the fire in about 30 minutes -- stopping it from spreading to the house. Three other sheds sustained heat damage.

A woman who lives in the home was not there when the fire started, Middletown Deputy Fire Chief Kenton Whitebread said. Middletown and Lower Swatara were among six companies that responded.

A cause has not been determined. The blaze is being investigated by the borough's fire marshal.

Furlong and other Lower Swatara firefighters, many of whom visited Weaver at the hospital Monday, were appreciative of Chelsey's efforts.

"We thank her for getting involved and possibly saving the life of our fellow firefighter," Furlong said. "It's a tragic event with a good ending so far."


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Related Topics: Cardiac and Circulation, Operations and Protcols

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