Construction accident takes emotional toll on first responders

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- A construction accident Tuesday in Starkville started as a rescue. But after 10 hours, firefighters had to accept – it was a recovery mission.

It took a toll on everyone. They’re human and feel what we feel..heartbroken by the outcome of the accident. Some of the firefighters on scene Tuesday have only been with the department a year or less..and Chief Yarbrough says accidents like that one aren’t something they see everyday.

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“I’ve been here 25 years and in my 25 years this is my second trench rescue,” said Chief Yarbrough.

Starkville Firefighters and other emergency responders worked quickly..using every resource available to try and rescue two men trapped after a trench collapse.

36-year-old Zachary Wayne Osbourn died on scene..19 year-old- William Kizzire died on the way to the hospital. It’s not the outcome that anyone hoped.

“We were pretty excited cause we got one out, rescued him.He was talking. Then on the way to the hospital he expired so I think that kind of deflated our balloons to be honest with you,” said Chief Yarbrough.

Running on fumes..Chief Yarbrough says the entire operation from start to finish lasted up until around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night…and it’s a day that will leave lasting images.

“This kind of stuff you don’t see that often. We have a lot of young guys who’ve never been a part of this who have to live with that now. Some stuff that you see you can’t ever unsee.”

After watching his crew work diligently to rescue and then recover victims in the trench, he knows the day took an emotional toll.

“A lot of people think we don’t have emotions i think because we don’t cry in public , we never do certain things. I think people think we’re really tough but in actuality yesterday, I can tell they were really hurt.”

As firefighters, the chief says, they rescue people…not the other way around. It will take time to heal.

“The ones that was out there yesterday. It’s a lot for them to deal with and to take on and then had to come back to work today. We had some that was off yesterday that came in to help and work today. They have to put that behind them because they still got a job to do today,” said Chief Yarbrough.

Chief Yarbrough says there will be mandatory grief counseling for the firefighters.

He’s asking the community to keep the firefighters and the victim’s family’s in your thoughts and prayers.

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