This week a Jackson County Firefighter returns to work after receiving third degree burns five months ago. On August 12th all units responded to a fully involved house fire. As a result of poor communication, James Freudenberg was badly burned and the department is revamping its training program.
While all the residents made it out safely that day, Freudenberg suffered severe steam burns to his right wrist. He was spraying the fire out of a second story window, when a volunteer firefighter shot water into the window resulting in steam injury. Since that day James he has received a skin graph and he wears a compression glove 24/7. This month Fire Chief Scott Birge took over for Chief Tony Wesley.
Birge says as a result of the August fire, the department is training daily to prevent any further accidents. Drills focus on incident command training with the whole department and surrounding agencies. Also, how to better structure and run emergency scenes. According to Freudenberg, recovery wasn't always easy but getting back to work was a great motivation, "Between the pain and nightmares I was just trying to remember exactly what happened. Over a period of time that went away and then this, I mean, firefighting is in my blood. So, getting out here and getting back to work really helped."
Freudenberg now works closely with the Tallahassee Fire Department Burn Unit. This summer he will use his story to help motivate children recovering from severe burns.