Paul Machado, a firefighter from Fall River, MA, and his crew responded to a fire inside a two-and-a-half story home. While inside the dwelling, their efforts were exacerbated by the fast-moving blaze, which knocked him 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.
Firefighter Machado, who eventually escaped the blaze but suffered numerous injuries and burns from the incident, was a guest speaker at the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Quincy, MA.
After spending three days in a trauma center and being sidelined for a year during a painstaking recovery effort, Firefighter Machado has become an outspoken advocate for home fire sprinklers, which he says could have drastically altered the outcome of the fire.
"As a firefighter, fire sprinklers were always in the background for me," he told Summit attendees. "It is hindsight, but I am happy to do anything I can to help spread the word about sprinklers. Fireighers really need to understand how important they are."
VIDEO: Firefighter Machado tells his story as part of NFPA's "Faces of Fire" campaign.