Long Beach CDCR staff save two from fire
Chatting in the parking lot after their shift, two Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP) staff were suddenly shaken by a large explosion. That’s when they jumped into action to help victims.
On Friday, April 22, Parole Agent II (Specialist) Richard Jones was speaking with Correctional Officer Myron Duncan outside the MCRP at Long Beach.
At 4:07 pm, that conversation came to an abrupt end when the ground shook from an explosion. Directly across from the parking lot, a two-story building had been damaged in the explosion.
Without waiting, MCRP staff quickly jumped into action. Calling 911, they then turned their attention to staff and participants. Acting Correctional Counselor III Mireya Reyes oversaw an emergency count, making sure every participant was present. The program staff and 102 participants gathered in the safe open courtyard at the rear of the MCRP.
According to supervisors, MCRP staff remained focused during the chaos, reverted to their training, and exhibited bravery.
Outside, Agent Jones saw two men, badly burned, who were obviously caught in the explosion. Screaming in pain and trapped behind a chain-link fence, Jones ran toward them. The men were suffering from third-degree burns over their entire bodies. They struggled to get away from the intense heat.
Jones grabbed the fence, pulling it back several feet. With burning debris raining down, he lifted the fence, helping the victims crawl to safety.
When outside the fence, Officer Duncan guided the disoriented men to safety. He kept them out of harm’s way while waiting for emergency personnel.
MCRP parking lot vehicles damaged following explosion
The fire gutted the entire structure, but did not spread to the MCRP facility. Vehicles in the parking lot were damaged from the heat, melting headlights and plastic grills.
GEO Program Director Tisha Mcafee also helped, summoning additional first responders. Along with Duncan and Jones, she kept a lookout for MCRP participants who may have been returning from work.
Unfortunately, one of the victims didn’t survive while the other victim is still in intensive care.
Chief Deputy Regional Administrator Jason Johnson credited staff with quick thinking, saving lives in the process.
“The quick response and acts by Parole Agent Jones and our partners following the explosion next to their facility truly illustrates their commitment and dedication to public safety. Their efforts showcase the strength of our community partnership,” Johnson said.
By Parole Agent III Francisco Saldana
Read more stories of staff going above the call.