Off-duty firefighter recalls rescue efforts during Vegas mass shooting

Las Vegas firefighter: "There was one...

LAS VEGAS Nevada (ABC4 Utah) -  Firefighter Travis Haldeman and his wife were ten yards from where singer Jason Aldean was performing.

Haldeman was off-duty and was part of the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest concert.  He first thought the strange sounds may have been fireworks.  But then he realized that wasn't so.

"After we realized what was going on that it was actually gunshot, we ducked took cover and hopped over a metal barrier, said Haldeman.   

He urged his wife to remain calm and ushered her to safety.  Then he told her he needed to go back into the fire zone.

"I felt scared, obviously scared," Haley Haldeman said.  "Everyone there was scared for their life.  But I know the kind of man I married. I know the man he is.  He was called to do that and he wanted nothing more than for me to get out of there and be safe and not stick around so I'm grateful that that was a decision that was made."

The nine-year firefighter said he came across dead bodies.  Others were wounded and bleeding.

"When I first carried someone over to the tent, we heard three shots skip across the black top, five or ten feet right in front of our feet," he recalled.

He then returned to help others while bullets were still spraying the area.

"I had met one girl that was shot in the back, right in the middle on the lower back," he said. "(The) feeling in her legs was touch and go at the time.  I felt like it was important for me to calm her down as much as I could."

He said she survived thanks to her own father who was transporting others to the hospital with his pickup truck.  Haldeman said her father didn't even know his daughter had been shot.

 "We load her up in the back of his pickup truck and drive her to the hospital," she said.  "She stood up yesterday for the first time, so things are really looking up."

 The Las Vegas fire chief said that's what his crew is trained for.  Fire chief Greg Cassell said they obtained federal grants and over the years, they've teamed up with police to form the Mass Casualty Incident Unit to prepare for disasters like this.

"They performed wonderfully under fire, literally under fire, taking care of patient right there in front of them," said Cassell. "(There were) Lots of off duty police, fire that performed rescue operations.  Our training paid off, our training paid off.  We knew what to do.  It was much grander than what we ever envisioned."

Haley Haldeman said she knew where her husband was supposed to be that night and didn't mind going it alone.  But both are together in wishing to forgot the horror of that night and concentrate on something else.

"There was one bad person and hundreds and thousands of good people that really wanted to help to make sure there are as few casualties as possible,"  Haldeman said.


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