Firefighters, Rehabilitation

CCC/HDSP Fire Captain, inmates save electrocuted civilian

Inmates wearing orange and white sit on the ground while one holds a certificate of thanks. Standing around them are people in business attire and uniforms.
Inmate firefighters from CCC and, standing, from left, are SEMSA EMT Dawn Mateo, SEMSA Paramedic Supervisor Louie Alberto, Associate Warden Rob. St. Andre, SEMSA Paramedic Elizabeth Groneman, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Tim Williams , CDCR Fire Captain Wilson Young, CDCR Fire Captain Terry Mallery, Chief Executive Officer Robert Duncan, CDCR Fire Chief Chris Hallmark, Warden Suzanne Peery and Associate Warden Brett Cornelison.

By Lt. Charlene Ruggiero, CCC

When a civilian working at a construction site was electrocuted, dropping lifeless to the ground, his coworkers called 911 and started CPR. The first response came from a CDCR Fire Captain and his inmate crew from the California Correctional Center (CCC)/High Desert State Prison (HDSP) Firehouse.

The civilian was working just outside of Leavitt Lake on a construction site in mid-August, and the metal pole he was carrying came across an electrical wire, sending electricity through his body.

CCC/HDSP Fire Captain Young responded from CCC with inmate fire fighters and arrived on the scene within minutes. The inmate fire fighters acted quickly and utilized their training and experience with the Automated External Defibrillator (AED), applying it to the young man’s chest where shock was advised.

The CCC/HDSP Fire Captain and inmate fire fighters worked diligently providing CPR until the air ambulance arrived to transport him to the hospital. Prior to transport, the young man became alert and was able to speak.

The efforts made by Fire Captain Young and the inmate fire fighters did not go unnoticed. On Aug. 22, Sierra Emergency Medical Services Alliance (SEMSA) presented Fire Captain Young and inmate Jack Myer Schenk IV with an award to show their appreciation for the partnership with CCC’s Fire Department.

SEMSA staff expressed their gratitude for the Fire Captain and firehouse inmates expedient response to emergency calls in the community, as they are often not available to respond as quickly.

Aside from lifesaving actions, CCC’s Antelope Conservation Camp and the CCC/HDSP Firehouse are known for the many activities they participate in throughout Lassen County.

They clean debris off the roads to reduce fire hazards, train dogs to prepare for adoption that may have otherwise been euthanized, cut fire wood for Lassen Senior Services, and respond to emergency calls from the community  providing medical aid, structure protection,  wild land fire suppression, vehicle accidents, hazardous materials incidents, flood control and high angle rescue incidents. Often, such as the incident at the construction site, the CDCR fire crews are the first on scene.

Inmate firefighter shakes hands with another firefighter while two others look on.
CCC inmate firefighter Jack Schenk, center, receives a certificate of appreciation for his actions saving the life of an electrocuted civilian. From left are SEMSA EMT Dawn Mateo, SEMSA Paramedic Supervisor Louie Alberto, Schenk and SEMSA Paramedic Elizabeth Groneman.
People wearing uniforms and one in regular clothing stand facing the camera. One of them is holding a certificate.
From left are SEMSA EMT Dawn Mateo, SEMSA Paramedic Supervisor Louie Alberto, CCC Fire Captain Wilson Young, SEMSA Paramedic Elizabeth Groneman.