ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Firefighters who helped rescue several people from a house fire in north St. Louis two weeks ago were honored by Governor Eric Greitens Wednesday.
Eight people, including five children, were in the hospital in critical condition after the fire, but thanks to the firefighters, they all survived.
The fire was reported around 2:00 a.m.
When fire crews went into the home there was no smoke on the first floor. By the time they got to the third floor, “[There was ] zero visibility,” said firefighter Tim Schultz.
Five children and two adults were trapped in a back bedroom in smoke.
Firefighters are trained to crawl on their hands and knees in blackout conditions; when the smoke is so heavy and thick you can't see your hand in front of your face.
While searching for victims in the smoke, when a firefighter reaches out and finds makes contact with someone, they may have just saved a life. But there's really no time to think about that.
“You don't think you just act on instinct. That's why we train,” said firefighter Larry Conley.
“You just focus on task at hand. Remove victims and keep going 'till you can't find anybody else. I would never guess there was seven people in that house, but we keep searching and finding people,” Schultz said.
Finding people and saving lives. They may not have had time to think about it while doing their job, but News 4 asked what it was like when they did have time to reflect on it.
“It's a hard feeling to kinda quantify,” said Conley. “An amazing feeling. Usually someone doesn't make it. It’s an extraordinary feeling.”
“It's probably something I'll never have opportunity for again,” Schultz added. “It’s cool to have a positive outcome like that. It's unreal, it really is.”
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