A Friend and Hero

My friend Robb is one of the most industrious and hardworking men I know. He’s also one of the most entertaining, too, but that’s for another post. Back in Omaha Robb somehow balances his life as a police officer, a fireman, a godly husband and father, and a respected deacon in his church.

This morning I awoke to read that on Friday morning Robb saved the life of a 5 year old boy from a burning home.

Here is the article running in today’s Omaha World-Herald:

Fireman’s blind grasp rescues boy

Seconds before flames entered the bedroom, Omaha Fire Capt. Robb Gottsch handed an unconscious 5-year-old boy to the safety of another firefighter. Gottsch, a 16-year-veteran, and Anthony Brummett, a firefighter candidate, passed flames on their way to the boy’s smoke-filled room early Friday.

They couldn’t see ahead of them in the bedroom, but Gottsch reached onto the bottom of a set of bunk beds and felt a leg.

Pulling 5-year-old Shakir Parnell into his arms, Gottsch turned with Brummett to head down and out of the house at 2827 Laurel Ave. The fire had spread, though, and the way out was blocked.

Gottsch heard glass break, and the smoke cleared a bit. Another firefighter, Adam Ostergaard, had knocked out the bedroom window — a way out.

Gottsch passed the boy through the window to Ostergaard. Firefighters shut the bedroom door to keep the flames from rushing in.

“I hope I gave that kid a chance,” Gottsch said Friday.

Shakir and Demarion Station — a 2-year-old who was carried out of the house before firefighters arrived — were taken in critical condition to Creighton University Medical Center.

They were expected to live, fire officials said.

“It was a frantic search,” Gottsch said. “I just wanted to get the boy out of that smoke-filled environment as quickly as possible. If anyone’s thankful, it’s me.

“I was just the one who found him and handed him out the window.”

Shakir was unconscious the entire time, Gottsch said. The fire captain said he saw no obvious burns to the boy’s skin, but that the boy might have had burns in his airway from the smoke. Demarion appeared to have suffered burns, officials said.

Gottsch stayed behind in the house after handing out Shakir; he thought a man who had gone into the house to try to save the boy still was inside. … Gottsch later learned that heavy smoke had prevented the man he was worried about from going upstairs; he was safe. … Gottsch said he and his crew didn’t do anything “spectacular,” just worked as a team.

Nice work brother!

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