SPOKANE, Wash. -- Firefighter Chuck McKenzie suffered second and third degree burns while fighting an apartment fire in North Spokane on Wednesday. Despite his injuries, McKenzie is in good spirits.
“You know, he’s not putting anybody out. That’s really what he’s worried about, is how he’s impacting the department and his crew. And he’s making a couple of jokes so he’s doing okay,” Brian Shaeffer of the Spokane Fire Department.
McKenzie and his unit were the first ones on scene at the second alarm fire at the Rosewood Club Apartments in North Spokane.
McKenzie ripped the front door off the hinges to try and rescue two victims trapped inside, but the rush of oxygen from the broken glass door in the back pushed the flames to a flash point.
“He knows in his heart that that’s part of this profession and he sacrificed a lot,” said Schaeffer.
A sacrifice that is not going unnoticed. Firefighters and officials from Spokane and his previous volunteer station in Moscow, Idaho have rallied around him.
“He’s got a lot of people looking out for him and a lot of people that care about him,” said Schaeffer.
McKenzie was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was greeted with more support
Seattle's Bravest Charity and the Seattle Fire Department presented him with an SFD coin and later treated those from his unit to dinner.
“Incredible act of bravery, incredible act of professional competence and honestly, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the men and women in this department,” said Schaeffer.