Firefighters healing from emotional trauma after Springfield shooting

Battalion Chief Mike Caven with the Eugene Springfield Fire Department is praising those five firefighters for their efforts, calling them heroes.

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 6:36 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 1:15 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The first firefighters to arrive on scene of a house fire in Springfield where they were ambushed by a gunman are on leave while a Peer Support Team helps them and the department heal from the trauma.

Battalion Chief Mike Caven with the Eugene Springfield Fire Department is praising those five firefighters for their efforts, calling them heroes.

"These guys did it right," Caven said. "The captain provided an excellent description of the shooter and his location while under fire -- while trying to account for his crews. It was spot on."

RELATEDUPDATE: POLICE IDENTIFY SUBJECT IN EARLY MORNING SHOOTING, FIRE

Caven said all five of those firefighters were hit by the gunman, but thanks to their protective gear, they only received bruises.

Caven, who is also the local president of the International Firefighters Association, said the Eugene Springfield Fire Department and the cities have stepped up to take care of their employees' mental health and are allowing those firefighters take a leave.

"There is no pressure on them to put them back in a position that they are not ready for, and so they are being allowed to decompress and be with their families and process on how to get back and not think about what happened,Caven said.

The day of the shooting, a Peer Support Team with the International Association of Firefighters was called up. Captain Scott Ross, the team's lead and firefighter with Los Angeles County, said they're here to help the firefighters heal not just physically, but mentally. The team has helped firefighters process what happened after situations such as the deadly Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival shooting in Las Vegas.

MORE: SPRINGFIELD RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY FIRE SEEK HELP

Ross said the five firefighters who first arrived on scene in Springfield have received a lot of support.

"They're doing OK," Ross said. "They have a strong family around them, not only their own internal support, but they also have the fire family that is going to rally around them, and I hope that as things move forward, they continue to be supported as I know that they will."

Ross said the Peer Support Team is not just focusing on the firefighters who were on the scene, but also on the whole department and their loved ones.

Caven said the firefighters on leave can take as much time as they need to heal.

"They were the first ones going back to the scene, picking up their hoses and putting out that fire," Caven said. "I think that was an important first step to their healing.

While officials believe the fire was arson, they are still investigating to find out what sparked the blaze in the first place.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 44388

Reported Deaths: 675
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9653167
Washington608278
Marion6068109
Umatilla346145
Clackamas330966
Lane250127
Malheur196738
Jackson18657
Deschutes120913
Yamhill102515
Linn86316
Polk67515
Jefferson60910
Morrow5547
Lincoln51913
Union4872
Benton4646
Klamath4313
Douglas3738
Wasco35216
Hood River2861
Columbia2751
Josephine2733
Coos2621
Clatsop2510
Baker1433
Crook1162
Tillamook750
Curry581
Wallowa512
Lake470
Harney370
Sherman220
Gilliam120
Grant120
Wheeler10
Unassigned00
Eugene
Scattered Clouds
35° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 35°
Corvallis
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 38°
Roseburg
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 47°
North Bend
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 42°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events