Most of the time when the Russellville Rural Fire Department responds to a call, they know a little about what they are up against and will prepare both mentally and physically while in transit to the incident.
On Sunday, Sept. 16, however, first responders found themselves in a situation they had never thought of - but thanks to their quick thinking and extensive training, the volunteers were successful in aiding two individuals who required help.
When the call came in that someone had been stung by bees in the Reedville community, out Highland Lick Road, first responders were not shocked at first considering the incident is common, says fire chief Cheryl Allen.
“We have gotten calls before on bee stings,” said Allen. “Most of the time people are just scared they may have an allergic reaction, so they call for help.”
On Sunday’s call, four volunteer firefighters showed up expecting to find just that, a man who had been stung, possibly a few times by a honey bee. It wasn’t until they arrived and got out of the vehicles, they soon realized this was not what they expected at all as they were immediately surrounded by angry, darting and stinging bees.
“On their way to the front door they were getting stung over and over again,” said Allen, who arrived at the scene later.
Allen said the firefighters told the person they had meet at the front door of the residence to send the victim outside so they could put him into the ambulance for assistance. As the victim came out and they were placing him inside the ambulance, the firefighters continued to be stung.
Just when they thought their mission had been accomplished, they heard a yell that there was a “man down” in the back yard of the residence.
Apparently, said Allen, one of the gentlemen at the house went into the backyard to try and get the bees back into their hive, but was overtaken by them and was now lying on the ground covered in bees.
The firefighters attempted to enter the back yard, but were quickly overtaken by the bees. Allen said one firefighter jumped into the swimming pool at the residence to avoid being attacked.
Allen said the men put on their bunker gear, air packs and pulled their Nomex hoods over their heads to battle the bees, but it wasn’t enough and the firefighters ended up having to turn their hose on the bees to clear them from the man laying on the ground.
Chief Allen said the run was definitely one for the books.
According to the chief, her firefighters suffered numerous bee stings, one so severe that he vomited that evening after suffering 12 to 14 stings.
Both individuals at the residence were taken to the hospital and were treated and released, said Allen.
“I think the incident was handled well. I am thankful for the quick thinking of the firefighters and I’m glad everyone involved is alright” said chief Allen.