Scranton, PA -- Deep inside the third floor of a tire warehouse, flames were scorching the walls on Wednesday night when four firefighters became disoriented from running low on oxygen.
The men became lost. Visibilility was low. Stacks of flaming tires were surrounding them. The hose line that the firefighters were following got tangled around the tires. Because of these circumstances, the four men got lost. Lt. Hopkins called a mayday at 7:16pm.
Scranton Fire Chauffeur John Rivers said, "The hairs on the back of our necks went up. He's been through everything. You know when he calls a mayday it's serious."
The four men were able to escape with the help of Rivers. They were taken to a nearby medical center for observation, and then were treated and released.
Rivers got full credit for the rescue. Scranton Fire Chief Patrick DeSarno said, "[Mr. Rivers] is a great firefighter [on a team of great firefighters]." He continued, "I would say [Mr. Rivers] averted tragedy."
Rivers heard the mayday and immediately entered the building. The smoke was thick and he couldn't see. He felt his way to the third floor by following the hose line. He called out to the men, and they heard him and followed his voice. Rivers found all four men disoriented 50-60 feet from the entrance.
"As soon as they saw me, they were happy," said Rivers. "They were excited to hear a firefighter's voice."