Quick Thinking Of Rescue Squad Member Saves Lives At Snowshoe

Snowshoe, WV – The quick thinking actions of Jason Hall, a member of the Shavers Fork Fire and Rescue Squad (SFFR) at Snowshoe, most likely saved the lives of employees and guests staying at the Seneca building in the Snowshoe Village complex. Events began to unfold on Sunday, December 26th around 9am that morning, according to Laura Parquette, Snowshoe Communications Manager and spokesperson for SFFR.

“Shavers Fork responded to a call for chest pains, it was a Snowshoe employee” she says. “When they responded to that call they received a second call in the same building, which was the Seneca building; a report of an unresponsive patient. They immediately realized that something was going on inside the building.”

Five patients, 3 Snowshoe employees and 2 guests were transferred to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital for treatment. Pocahontas County Emergency Services Director Melvin Martin says SFFR member Hall was the first to recognize that there was more to the call than first appeared.

“Jason Hall, from what I understand, actually diagnosed it as being carbon monoxide just from the symptoms, he did an excellent job on that” says Martin. “They took readings and found readings back in that back room of 520 parts per million which is very high. You want it to be zero. I don’t remember exactly what the cutoff rate is as far as it being toxic, it seems like it’s somewhere around 100 [parts per million].”

According to SFFR Fire Chief Shannon Boehmer, levels that high could cause death in as little as 10 minutes. The Marlinton and Cass Rescue squads also responded as back up for SFFR. Parquette says all guests were immediately evacuated from the building and those who weren’t checking out were relocated to other lodging on the mountain. A challenging task given that December 26th is one of the busiest check-in days of the winter season.

SFFR members set up several fans to ventilate the building. Teams from the rescue squad also continued to monitor the CO levels as they gradually came down. Martin says they believe the cause of the leak came from the heating system in the basement of the building, built in 2005.

“We believe it was one of the three boilers and they’re going to do a quick inspection of those and try to figure out which one” he says. “They’ll probably fire them up one at a time and take readings and watch them to see which one is the culprit.

Chief Boehmer said all five patients were in stable condition, although when contacted, PMH would not give any information about the condition of the patients.

By noon on Sunday, some guests were being allowed to return to the Seneca building.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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