The long road to recovery for burned firefighters

Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Two volunteer firefighters injured in a Riverdale house fire remain in critical but stable condition at the Washington Hospital Center.

“Everything is looking positive at this point,” says Randy Kuenzli, the volunteer chief from the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department. “We are seeing improvements.”

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Sunday afternoon, the firefighters’ families met outside the hospital to give an update on the injuries.

“Ethan can’t speak, but he’s doing a lot of communication through writing,” says Vann Sorrell, Ethan’s father.

“He is able to recognize who you are. He’s in good spirits,” he says.

Kevin O’Toole suffered second- and third-degree burns on 40 percent of his body.

“It’s going to be a long road,” says Jeff O’Toole, Kevin’s father.

“They estimate at least six weeks in the burn unit followed by about six months worth of rehabilitation,” he says.

Monday, O’Toole will undergo skin graft surgery.

A third firefighter, Michael McClary, was released from the hospital Saturday. His mother was still overcome by emotion, standing alongside the other families outside the hospital.

“Underneath it all we’re all one big family,” says Cheryl McClary.

“My son is not up to talking to anybody because he’s still upset that he got to go home and his brothers didn’t,” she says.

The cause and origin of the fire have not been determined.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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