|Updated: 9/20/2012 10:11 am
||Published: 9/20/2012 10:00 am
September 5th was an unforgettable day for students and teachers after many watched the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences burn. It was even more unforgettable for families of the eight firefighters who were burned.
The firefighters suffered second and third-degree burns on their arms, ears and other parts of their bodies.
Tonya Bell is the wife of burned firefighter Matt Bell. She said in their 7 years of marriage, she rarely thought about her husband getting hurt. She got a phone call on September 5th from a firefighter who was working with Matt. He said her husband had been burned.
“When I initially got the phone call he had been injured, I didn't know what to expect,” Bell said. “I just knew he had been on a fire and gotten injured and they were going to the emergency room. Obviously, I thought the worst and it did cross my mind something could have happened to him."
Tonya wasn’t alone at the hospital, joined by other firefighter wives and families who found support with each other.
Mary Revels husband, Rasheem “Petey” Revels was also burned.
She said, "I even started thinking, how am I going to explain this to my kids if something drastic happens."
Matt has third degree burns on his right hand and second degree burns to his ear. Rasheem has burns to his ear, leg and hand.
Matt said it’s been a painful process.
“They diagnosed me with third degree burns to my right hand and told me that I would have to have a skin graft, and I didn't really know what to expect,” Matt explained. “I know what it's about now and it's not a fun process.”
It still could be months of rehab before Matt can go back to work. Although it’s been hard for these families, having the support of fellow firefighters have made it easier. Crews have been at the hospital around the clock.
One injured firefighter’s mom, Terri Beeler, said, "That meant so much to these families. If they wanted to leave and go take a shower, they didn't need to worry about it because someone was always there for them. Seeing all the guys, it’s still surreal how bad they were burned."
It’s created a bond between the eight men that can never be broken and formed new friendships between their families giving them all a new perspective on life.
Mary explained, "We take day-to-day for granted. After this, I will never take my husband for granted again, I will cherish him forever."
The recovery time will be different for each firefighter. Two of the men, have been cleared to go back to work in a week, but for others it could be months of healing before they are able to work again.