National News

May 2, 2013 12:44 PM by NBC News

Aurora Massacre: "Frantic Situation"

(KUSA) The Aurora Fire Department defended its response to the theater shooting on Wednesday breaking months of silence dictated in large part to an ongoing gag order in the criminal case.

The department's Preliminary Incident Analysis documents the second-by-second arrival of fire trucks and ambulances the night Aurora Police say a man entered the Century 16 Theater and opened fire inside theater #9.

"Our first engine - Paramedic Engine #8 - arrived on scene five and a half minutes after the initial dispatch," said EMS Bureau Manager Kevin Waters. "As soon as we arrived at the perimeter of the property we began to encounter critically ill patients."

The report details a frantic situation that the department maintains kept ambulances away from the largest concentrations of critically wounded patients during the initial response. The net result was an improvised evacuation of injured movie goers inside police cruisers that officers had managed to park close to the theater.

The first police officer left the scene with an injured patient at 12:49am, 9 minutes after the initial dispatch call. Over the course of the next 15 minutes, only two of the injured left by ambulance while 14 others left inside Aurora Police cars. Of the 23 patients who arrived at nearby University of Colorado Hospital, only three arrived in an ambulance. The hospital reports all three arrived in a single ambulance.

The Aurora Fire Department maintains it had a good working relationship with the Aurora Police Department during the theater shooting response.

"No single agency can handle an emergency of this magnitude by themselves. It requires collaboration with multiple other first responders," Waters said.

Waters said he remains proud of the work done by both the fire and police departments that night.

"It's difficult for me to imagine anyone who was there that night who wouldn't be changed," he said.

His thoughts remain on the victims.

"This was a very emotional response for us and for them."

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