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Paul Machado

 
Faces of Fire

Firefighter Paul Machado was forced to flee a fast-moving house fire by leaping from a window, resulting in numerous injuries.

"The fire started to engulf the entire room. I had tried to call a Mayday on the radio and it didn't work. It had melted."

Name: Paul Machado
Location of Fire: Fall River, Massachusetts
Date of Fire: March 7, 2013
Injuries: Burns on both arms, hands, ears, elbows, and shoulders

This video was produced through a collaboration with NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.

Download a video of Paul's story.

On a blistery cold morning, Firefighter Paul Machado and his crew were tasked with searching for a missing woman inside a two-and-a-half story home on fire. While inside the dwelling, their efforts were exacerbated by the fast-moving blaze, which knocked Machado to the ground. He attempted to seek safety by heading down to the first floor, but the fire was too intense. Since his radio had melted, calling in a "Mayday" was impossible. His only opportunity for escape was to fling himself from a window. He sustained numerous injuries and burns from the incident, and was sidelined for a year during a painstaking recovery effort. One crew member made it out of the home safely, while another was also forced to jump from a window, resulting in job-ending injuries. Home fire sprinklers, Machado says, would have drastically altered the outcome of the fire.