First responders recall horrors of Sunday night massacre - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

First responders recall horrors of Sunday night massacre

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First responders shared their experiences Thursday of the shooting that killed 58 people. (FOX5) First responders shared their experiences Thursday of the shooting that killed 58 people. (FOX5)

For the first time, Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell allowed his first responders to talk about Sunday night's massacre in Las Vegas, where at least 58 were killed and more than 480 others injured. Chief Cassell said some of his crews were still struggling mentally with what they saw, but their quick thinking and collaboration with Metro undoubtedly saved lives. 

Of the people who responded, one of the first on scene was fire engineer Jason Perlmutter. He says he was wrapping up a call when he heard the call come out over the radio. 

"On the radio we heard multiple gun shot victims," he said. "I just looked at my partner and said 'We need to figure out where we are going.'"

Perlmutter said the two didn't think twice and began making their way toward Mandalay Bay. As they were approaching, they heard another chilling call come out over the radio.

"We were told there was an active shooter firing at a music festival."

Perlmutter says once they were near the Route 91 Music Festival grounds the roads became side walks as hundreds of people were running from the gunfire.

"We were just so overwhelmed. We were overwhelmed with multiple patients."

Along with treating those patients, Perlmutter and his partner were in the midst of gunfire, and were also told false reports that there were multiple shooters.

"It was in the back of my mind, that we could be sitting targets," he said. 

Perlmutter worked on dozens of people, the most serious first, and worked from just after 10:00 p.m. until 4:30 the next morning. He said what he saw was horrible, but he's thankful he was there. 

"I think the feeling of being able to help someone; that is great."

But it wasn't just fire crews there, Fire Chief Greg Cassell said lives were saved because of how the Clark County Fire Department works and trains with Metro. One of the officers who responded, and worked with the fire department was Sergeant Branden Clarkson. 

"(This shooting) just reinforces why we do what we do, what our purpose is, and not to sound cheesy, but this is why we do what we do," he said. 

Sergeant Clarkson said what he saw Sunday night haunts him, but in the same breath, what he saw also keeps him going.

"Just the selfless acts, it's the person picking up someone next to them because they're hurt and they're not worried for their safety, but for others," he said. 

Chief Cassell said this collaboration between Metro and the CCFD has been years in the making. 

"We saw what happened in Columbine, we saw what happened in Aurora, we saw people died when there was a lack of communication with police, so we had to fix that."

Sunday was also the first night that CCFD crews used new gear, which includes a bullet proof vest which can withstand a rifle round, and a trauma kit which can treat gunshot wounds to the chest. No one from CCFD was shot but one person was injured, Cassell said.

As the first responders ran into a barrage of bullets and cared for the injured, it wasn't themselves they say they were thinking about Sunday night.

"I was just thinking about the innocent concert goers that were killed," Perlmutter said.

Sergeant Clarkson agreed, and added, "My family lives here, this is my community, I want to make sure it's safe."

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