Woodmore School Bus Crash: Impact on first responders - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Woodmore School Bus Crash: Impact on first responders

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Monday’s tragedy is a heart break for the dozens of first responders to the scene. Crews worked for hours trying to rescue the 37 children on board.

A half dozen fire trucks responded to the Monday’s tragedy along with 12 county ambulances. These are moments first responders train for, but are never mentally ready to deal with it in real life.

Calls slowly inundated the Chattanooga Fire Department. Firefighters knew something serious just happened. “It hit home with a lot of our firefighters that have children that ride the bus every day. Some are still struggling today wanting to pick up kids themselves,” said Fire Chief Chris Adams.

Quint 13 was the first to arrive on the scene with four firefighters, minutes after being dispatched. “It looked like a war zone, parents, victims, the walk and wounded were all in one location.”

Crews instantly worked their game plan. Their main mission, to rescue as many students as possible. “They disassembled the inside of the bus in a very confined space. Not a lot of room for tools and firefighters but they stayed in there.”

For hours they broke glass, stripped away metal, and comforted crying children. “When you're in there for 2 hours, talking to someone you form a major connection. There is no buffer, no buffer to the long time exposure.”

A hard day for our hometown heroes. “We all go home, there is five new angels that left a lot of folks behind,” said Director of Hamilton County EMS Ken Wilkerson.

The men and women who work endlessly, around the clock protecting us appreciate the support from a giving community. “Very sad, very emotional, there is some anger as to why this happened. They gave the best opportunity for people to survive that anyone in the county could have done,” said Chief Adams.

Counselors will remain at the departments for any of the first responders.

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