Two volunteer firefighters in Virginia who decided to break the rules and rush an 18-month-old girl to a hospital in their fire engine instead of potentially watching her die are back on the job. The fire chief in Stafford County says Capt. James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom, who were placed on administrative leave after the Feb. 27 incident, have been reinstated, CNN reports. The chief says the firefighters' actions had been under review because the girl was transported in a firetruck, not an ambulance. This is a "highly unusual occurrence for our department, and as we do in situations that appear to veer from our established practice, we initiated a review," he says.
When Kelley and Bloom arrived at the scene in Fredericksburg, the girl, who had suffered a seizure, had turned blue and was unresponsive. The firefighters decided to use their vehicle because they thought the nearest medic was around 15 minutes away. Their reinstatement followed a nationwide outpouring of support. The girl's father, Brian Nunamaker, says he was appalled when he heard about the suspension, the AP reports. "The actions of these men represent a dedication to their mission, and a deep concern of doing what is best for the people they are serving," he said in a statement. "In our eyes, they are heroes." Kelley tells the Washington Post that he knew using the firetruck violated guidelines, but the decision was a "no-brainer." (Read more firefighters stories.)