NEW CARLISLE, Ind. — Exactly one week after New Carlisle firefighter Matt O'Donnell ran into a burning building with Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Middlebrook, O’Donnell shared his story about what happened that night.
O’Donnell reached out to WSBT, saying he felt it’s important for people to know Middlebrook’s final moments were not filled with fear or sadness. Middlebrook, O’Donnell and one other firefighter went inside the K-Fex building on the LaPorte-St. Joseph County line to set up a hose line that could be unmanned and fight the fire from the inside. They thought they could save part of that business, O’Donnell said.
"We weren’t in a bad spot. I did not feel heat at all," he said Tuesday. With 18 years of firefighting experience, O’Donnell said he did not feel unsafe inside the building. "Not once. We read the building, we read the smoke coming out of the building," he continued. The hose line was almost set when he heard a rumble. Seconds later, he recalled being trapped under heavy debris, screaming his partner's name.