Firefighter/Paramedic Jeff Blatnik put his training to the test on Feb. 3 when he and his fellow crew members responded to a mutual aid call for a fire in a multi-family residential structure in the city of San Diego off 30th Street.
The Imperial Beach Fire Department Engine 239, crewed by Captain Craig Weaver, Engineer Patrick Spears, Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Holian and Blatnik, responded to a call at about 5:30 p.m. and arrived to the two-story apartment complex.
“We were the second fire engine to get there. Engine 30 came from San Diego,” recalled Weaver.
The initial fire was already put down and the Imperial Beach crew was assigned to the task fire attack. The smoke was very thick inside the building and the visibility was just a foot or so. Blatnik went to the second floor to check when he heard water running.
“While doing a search pattern I found an individual,” Blatnik said.
The 60-year-old woman had no pulse when Blatnik found her. He then took her outside of the residence, started CPR and was able to get a pulse back. She was then transported to UCSD Trauma Center. Two pets were also found in the building but had already passed away.
A rescue such as this is not a usual occurrence. “It’s pretty rare for someone to be in the residence. They’re few and far between,” said Blatnik. “I was thinking to get her out and start CPR and hope she makes it.”
This fire was put out thanks to a joint effort by the San Diego, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach fire departments and Cal Fire. Blatnik has been with the Imperial Beach Fire Department for three years after working as a firefighter volunteer. This was his first rescue.