Fire captain heard gunshots, prompting fast and large response to Las Vegas shooting

A wounded person is walked in on a wheelbarrow as Las Vegas police respond during an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Stirp in Las Vegas Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

(WFLA) – Firefighters were able to respond quickly during the tragic Las Vegas massacre thanks to an alert  fire captain who happened to hear gunfire near the Mandalay Bay Casino.

The firefighters saved lives amidst chaos and a hail of bullets.

“We had a lot on our hands,” said Clark County Fire Rescue Chief Greg Casell during a news conference held Thursday, four days after Sunday’s shooting which took the lives of 58 people and injured more than 500 at a concert in Las Vegas.

Casell said that he refused to allow reporters to speak to his firefighters until Thursday, to allow them time to heal and decompress.

“This was a very, very traumatic event,” he said.

Casell said that it took less than five seconds for the first fire engine to arrive on scene. A crew was returning from a traffic call when the captain heard gunfire. The captain had the foresight to request a 1st alarm medical assignment and a mass casualty unit, which initiated a large response, ultimately helping to save lives.

Moments after the captain called for help, dozens and dozens of patients swarmed their way out of the concert venue and firefighters began treating a wide variety of injuries, including injuries from high-powered weapons.

“There were people dying,” Casell said.

Many shooting victims ran away from the concert venue to the safety of hotels, then called 911. This led emergency responders to question if there were shooters at multiple locations.

Gunfire was also mistakenly reported at a nearby airport after fleeing concertgoers jumped the airport fence and called 911.

Casell said the 911 calls about shootings that came from multiple locations led to a widespread response.

“It was not anything we planned for… it was spread over a massive area,” he said.

Casell praised the firefighters and civilians who risked their lives to help others during the gunfire.

“Absolute heroes, absolute heroes,” he said.

No Clark County firefighters were shot or injured.

Clark County Fire Rescue Chief Greg Casell describes the emergency response to the deadly Las Vegas shooting attack on Sunday.


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