AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – At Aurora Fire Station No. 2, there is a sense of routine again, and yet you can’t help but wonder if things will ever be the same.
The firefighters at this station were among the first to respond to the mass shooting at the Aurora movie theater last Friday in which 12 died and 58 were injured.
Randy Rester, President of the Aurora Firefighters Protective Association, has been with the department for more than 30 years and hasn’t experienced anything like it.
“They were under tremendous stress. Things are still occurring and it just seems like you can’t move fast enough. And that’s an overwhelming feeling for firefighters,” he said.
Rester knows the men and women in the department — their families and their personalities — and he knew they needed help after the chaos they had seen at the Aurora movie theater.
“You’ve got some jokesters in here. And when the jokes stop, that’s not good,” he said.
Rester said he wasn’t sure the firefighters in his department would be comfortable talking to professional counselors; in this case they needed one of their own. By the next morning three firefighters from New York who had responded to 9/11 arrived.
“They’ve been where we’ve been. They’ve done what we’ve done. So the credibility is there and the trust is there,” Rester said.
The Aurora firefighters opened up. They sat around talking at the kitchen table in the fire station with their New York peers, sometimes for hours.
Rester said the overall theme the New York firefighters wanted to convey was: “You did the best you could with what you had. Do you want to do more? Yeah. Don’t what if yourself to death.”
Don’t miss a special hour long report on CBS4 on Friday at 4 p.m. titled “Movie Theater Tragedy: Remember, Honor Support” which will look back at the week following the Aurora shootings.