I was still a pretty new Paramedic, when I got called out on
my first MCI. It was down near the River, in a rapidly evolving development of
nightclubs and restaurants with ambiguous ownership records. The call went out
for EXPLOSION, and they toned out every ambulance within radio range. Must really be something, and my heart started racing as I realized I’d be the second unit on scene.
When we arrived things looked real unfamiliar, despite my
personal experience with the area. All I could see under the dust cloud was a
big hole. A real big hole, like I could not see the other side. I started
looking around for folks needing help, and soon a Cop flagged me into the
doorway of the small flophouse across the street.
Inside we found a man who had been sleeping in the room
directly in front of the place, in a second floor room. He had about a half
pound of glass from the window in his hind end. Nothing too serious, but he
would be spending the next few hours on his stomach getting stitched up.
Back outside everything was still pretty chaotic, but so
far no more injured. This was back in the day before MCI responses were
managed, so we headed for the hospital with our single patient. Afterwards, we
went back down to see what was going on. Only one other patient had been
located and transported. Where were the rest of the injured? How was it possible
there was so much damage, and almost nobody injured, I asked aloud?
A very experienced Fire Captain then turned to me and
said, “When buildings suddenly fall down, there are mostly only two kinds of
patients – dead and OK”.