Mother Thanks 1st Responders For Saving Her Son's Life After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Incident

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A mother has thanked first responders for saving her son’s life.

On April 28 at 8:30 p.m., a family member called 911 reporting that Kaine Varnell, 21, was unresponsive on the floor of the garage. Chattanooga Police, Chattanooga Fire and Hamilton County EMS responded. 

As Quint 8 personnel were arriving on scene, they began their size-up, as they do on every emergency call, to assess the situation. They immediately noticed the residence was a duplex with an active work crew renovating one side of the structure and the emergency taking place on the adjoining side of the duplex. When the crew was met by the patient's father as they exited the truck, they noticed his general appearance could indicate the possibility of a carbon monoxide emergency as he was showing signs and symptoms. 

The crew immediately removed the unconscious man from the structure and initiated CPR as Hamilton County EMS arrived on scene. Quint 8 personnel then donned their personal protective equipment, including their masks, and used a gas monitor to check the structure. 

Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide were present in both sides of the duplex and a generator was located in the garage of the duplex where work was taking place. The generator had been running inside the garage with the garage door down while crews were working inside. 

Hamilton County EMS personnel were able to establish an advanced airway, administer necessary medications and regain good vitals for the young man. He was transported to the hospital with firefighters and paramedics providing continuous care in the back of the moving ambulance.

Following the CO poisoning incident, Mr. Varnell has been recovering and his mother is very grateful for the treatment he received. They expressed their gratitude to first responders during an event at CFD Fire Station 8 on Hickory Valley Road on Wednesday morning.

It was noted that Mr. Varnell and his family have been through a lot in recent years. In March of 2020, he escaped his family’s burning home on N. Concord Road, but his 10-year-old brother was still inside the residence. The child was rescued by Chattanooga firefighters, but later passed away from injuries sustained in the fire.

Two years later, Mr. Varnell ended up in another life-threatening situation and, again, first responders rushed to help.

Fire officials said, "During National EMS Week, we want to recognize HCEMS as well as all those who work in public safety, striving to save lives and property. Chattanooga firefighters are also certified emergency medical personnel and respond to a growing number of EMS calls each year in our community.

"Quint 8 Red Shift personnel (Captain Tim Greer, Lt. Robert Kirby, and Senior Firefighter Larry Henderson) will be receiving life-saving awards for their quick-thinking and excellent response efforts, which ultimately prevented this family from dealing with another tragic loss. With their training and experience, they knew immediately that they were dealing with more than just a CPR call. That situational awareness and excellent care illustrate what Chattanooga firefighters and all Hamilton County first responders are capable of when every second counts."


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