Virginia Firefighters in Patient Transport Suspension Reinstated

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (WTTG)  – Two volunteer Stafford County firefighters who were taken off duty after they transported an 18-month-old child to the hospital in a fire engine have been returned to operational status starting at 4 p.m. Monday, fire officials said.

Virginia Firefighters in Patient Transport Suspension ReinstatedCaptain James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom, both volunteers for the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Fredericksburg, were the first to arrive when called to a location near a McDonald’s restaurant last Saturday because the child was having a seizure, according to Kelley.

Kelley, who is a D.C. firefighter who also volunteers in Stafford County, told FOX 5’s Alexandra Limon he immediately told the driver of the truck to turn on the engine because the little girl was in dire need of a hospital. Based on a previous call location for the nearest medic, Kelley said he thought it would be at least 10 to 15 minutes before one could arrive, and when he asked for a location from the nearest medic, he got an answer that didn’t give any specifics.

According to Kelley, the child was put on oxygen in the fire engine and was in the trauma room within 13 minutes of the time the call came in.

The father of the little girl tells FOX 5 he is grateful for the actions of those two first responders, who may have saved his daughter’s life.

After the incident, both Kelley and Bloom were suspended by the county. According to Kelley, his fire engine is licensed as a “non-transport unit,” and doesn’t have the proper restraints and medications that medic units have. But, Kelley also says he didn’t violate a written county policy. He’s also upset because he says that in D.C., where he works full-time as a firefighter, he would be honored for his actions–but in this case, he’s being punished.

In a statement sent to FOX 5 on Saturday, a Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said, “A potential regulatory compliance issue is under review by the Fire and Rescue Department and the Virginia Department of Health. Therefore, we are unable to comment on this issue.

The Facebook page started in support of Kelley and Bloom is called Reinstate Our Heroes Stafford. The woman who started it tells FOX 5’s Alexandra Limon she doesn’t know the firefighters personally, but she is an EMT in Stafford County. She wishes to remain anonymous for fear of getting in trouble at work.

She started the page after seeing so many people asking on social media what could be done to help the firefighters.

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