First Responders Spotlight: Two medics share their story about the Kodak Center crash

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For the first time since the fiery crash outside the Kodak Center claimed the lives of three innocent people, we’re hearing from the two medics first on the scene of the tragedy.

The New Year’s shift for AMR paramedic Julie Purick and EMT Davin Eshelman started just like any other night. That changed suddenly when a speeding driver plowed at a crowd leaving a concert.

“We happened to be right around the corner– less than a mile away,” Purick explained.  “When we turned the corner it was chaos.”

The team of two made it to the scene from where they were positioned in less than a minute.

“First thing we did was start triaging patients,” Eshelman said. “Part of the way through our response we were updated there were 6+ patients so from there, it clicks in your head you have to start triaging patients and that’s what we did.”

Their training and muscle memory kicked in as they focused on the job at hand, despite never being in anything like this before in their careers.

A man from Syracuse, who police say came to Rochester multiple times before the attack and scouted the venue the night of the packed concert, used a rented SUV full of gas cans as a weapon by taking aim at a crowded street on a busy holiday.

Three victims lost their lives that morning– Dawn Revette, Josh Orr, and Justina Hughes.

The suspect, Michael Avery, was also killed. Purick and Eshelman were both hospitalized due to gas and smoke inhalation. Eshelman got out first. Purick was on a ventilator and spent the rest of the week in the hospital.

Sunrise anchor Brennan Somers asked them about their first conversation and their first day back on the job together later that month.

“It’s honestly still just kind of surreal,” Purick said. “In the moment you think maybe it was a drunk driver, maybe an accident, and then at least from my perspective to find out four days later what had actually occurred is humbling and surreal.”

“It was a sigh of relief,” Eshelman told Somers. “I was more than worried because the nurses and doctors weren’t saying anything because they couldn’t.”

As for the investigation, local and federal authorities quickly ruled out terrorism. The evidence points to an intentional act but they still don’t know the true motive.

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