Fatal Wreck Takes Toll on Emergency Workers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/22/02 - Longview

Fatal Wreck Takes Toll on Emergency Workers

Many Longview Fire Fighters and State Troopers at the site of Sunday's fatal crash I-20 were visibly shaken by what they encountered. One of the first people to reach the accident was Longview Captain Bob Kerridge. "It was hard to tell what kind of vehicles they were. I was told upon arrival that we had some dead people on the scene and 2 people that were needing to be flown out."

Kerridge knows the stresses that comes with his job. He's been working scenes like this for 20 years in East Texas. But for many of the younger firefighters, this is their first encounter with a tragedy of this scale.

 "They've got kids the same age. It makes it very hard on them. First thing they want to do is go home and call their kids. Go home and hug their kids. I'd probably do the same."

Arthur Fort was also at the wreck Sunday night. As Justice of the Peace, it's his job to order investigations into deaths within the County. He says the collision was the worst he's ever seen.

"It's hard to set it aside. You just have to go home and set it down and kind of unwind a few minutes and watch a little bit of television and kind of unwind and get it off your mind so you can go to sleep."

Because of the number of people who were so deeply shaken, the Longview Fire Department will hold a special Critical Incident Stress Debrifing on Wednesday morning. Captain Kerridge says the most important thing rescue workers can do now to help themselves is to talk about what they've seen with others, and share how it has touched thier lives.

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