Exclusive: First firefighter at Sunday's shooting talks about rush to save lives


It took five seconds for the first Clark County firefighters to arrive at Sunday’s shooting at the Route 91 festival.

The crew was from Fire Station 11. It’s located on Las Vegas Boulevard, near the famous Las Vegas sign.

They happened to be out on a call for a car crash when the gunfire started.

It was a sound that instantly caught the attention of Captain Ken O’Shaughnessy.

“It sounded like an automatic weapon. One of my firefighters who was in the back is a veteran. He said, Captain, that's gunfire. There was no question about it,” said O’Shaughnessy.

A hail of bullets rained down on the four-member crew as they pulled up to the Route 91 festival.

“Most calls that I go on, even if it's risky, I'm not thinking of my five kids and my wife and saying prayers, but this was different. This felt like it could potentially be catastrophic,” said O’Shaughnessy.

It was a scenario he had rehearsed in training more than two dozen times. But this was the first time in his 13 years as a firefighter, O’Shaughnessy had used his mass casualty bag.

“We have enough equipment on there for every member of the crew. This is going to be your bulletproof vest. It has a plate on the front and a plate on the back which covers your vital organs,” he explained.

“We've got basically life support trauma stuff, tourniquets, bandages and a mega mover, a gurney we can carry someone out on,” he continued.

On Sunday night, O’Shaughnessy and his crew had only seconds to assess each patient.

“Typically an ambulance takes one patient to the hospital. In a situation like this, we put as many patients in there as we can. We were running out of ambulances,” said O’Shaughnessy.

When that happened, he said others were ready and able to help.

“We started using private vehicles to take people to the hospital. They'd come up in a pickup truck and say I've got room for six,” noted O’Shaughnessy.

When a tragedy hit, Las Vegas had plenty of people willing to help. They were everyday people and first responders, now on an honor roll of heroes.

Four days after the shooting, O’Shaughnessy has one prevailing thought about what he and his crew did that night.

“That was our moment to act and we did,” he said.