Firefighter battles back from burns

Firefighter battles back from burns

There are 2 comments on the STLtoday story from Sep 30, 2007, titled Firefighter battles back from burns. In it, STLtoday reports that:

“Do you really think you can work as a firefighter?”

Cindy Schuenke screamed as she fell into the fire and watched, horrified, as flames engulfed her left hand, lighting it like a match and melting her flesh. via STLtoday

Join the discussion below, or Read more at STLtoday.


Dunellen, NJ

#1 Oct 3, 2007
My heart goes out to Cindy and wish her the best possible outcome from all her injuries. Whether she is able to return to interior structural firefighting is another matter entirely as I think there are now probably a lot of invisible wounds as well. That is not to suggest she give up hope, but rather to just take it slow and continually and honestly reaccess her abilities. There is no doubt you need to be in top mental and physical condition to do this job well.

Although we train over and over again for just this type of situation (basements fires present especially dangerous and challenging rescues). We really never want to see our brothers and sisters trapped and we rarely consider that we will become victims either, but training allows us to obtain the skills that will become second nature during emergencies. Obviously, we walk into fires when others run out and the building can't stand forever under the assault of fire and water. But, as the article mentions, we risk a lot to save a lot. Unfortunately, as in this case, sometimes our best efforts aren't enough.

There are a number of things in this article that just don't sound right. Where was the RIT/FAST unit that is suppoosed to be in place (for firefighter rescue) or doesn't Missouri have such requirements? Why would a fellow firefighter say she was dead when she wasn't? We go out of our way to save others, and most especially our own!

Forget about throwing in the bit about the lawsuit and the just ruined the article entirely by hinting at greed and resentment. I also don't understand why Cindy is quoted as saying that no one came to her rescue when someone pulled her out of the basement window? I realize that most writers don't understand the profession, but it is just disappointing when the real points are blurred.

Cindy is a very brave young woman with a survivor's instinct and she has the respect of her peers and of this fellow firefighter from NJ!

Risa Hynes
Raritan Township Fire Co
Flemington, NJ

United States

#2 Oct 7, 2007
To Cindy:
When my mother was a child, she fell into a vat of boiling soap and was burned to the bone on both arms from the wrist to the arm pit. She is scared but does not dwell on it. Since she was a child at the time, she has learned to live with it. But she was just a child and gave the pain to Christ and has moved on. I pray you find comfort and an end to the misery of your injury. Having grown up seeing this mass of scar tissue, I am moved whenever I hear of someone who has been burned and would like to send my sympathy and best wishes to you. I pray for a speedy recovery. If it is anything like my mother's injury, it will be with you forever. I hope you can come to accept it as a fact of life and get over the pain and the horror of the scarring. Best wishes and a speedy recovery.

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