Invisible Wounds: California Firefighters say Job Stress Causes Lingering Mental Health Issues
The smoke and flames that killed 36 people at Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse were subdued by the time fire Lt. George Freelen began his shift that morning. But as the sun rose over the charred wreckage, the toughest work was yet to come.
“That’s when we had to recover the dead,” Freelen said. “The first dead. The victims that were on the surface.”
Freelen and his crew set to work pulling bodies from the rubble that used to be a live-work space for artists. The scale of the tragedy was unprecedented in Oakland’s history, but after 19 years on the job, Freelen had seen plenty of death before.
“[It’s] tragic to have to see these innocent victims and see them in the last moments of their life and zip them up in a body bag,” Freelen said.
It’s hard for Freelen to talk about what he saw that day, but he said they recovered nine bodies before returning to Station 13 just around the corner from the warehouse few had heard of before it burned to the ground.
Source: Invisible Wounds: California Firefighters say Job Stress Causes Lingering Mental Health Issues | NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Invisible-Wounds-California-Firefighters-say-Job-Stress-Causes-Lingering-Mental-Health-Issues-422600714.html#ixzz4hMx8dPso
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