Fire dept. releases chilling recording of mayday call in Raytown fire

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- A firefighter calling out "mayday" is a cry rescue workers say they never forget.

"That is a phrase that nobody wants to hear," said Chief Matt Mace of the Raytown Fire Dept. "When you hear it, it’s kind of like you remember where you were when certain things happen. Everybody on that scene can tell you where they were when they heard it."

The fire department has released a chilling radio call for help from the apartment fire in February that killed a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother.

A recording of the firefighters' radio traffic shows just how close the inferno came to claiming the life of a firefighter on the second floor.

Mace said that firefighter was keeping the flames at bay while two others went up to the third floor to rescue an infant. The situation took a dangerous turn when the blaze burned through the firefighter's hose cutting off his water supply.

Fire Capt. Andrew Finkelstein said the firefighter was quickly surrounded by a wall of fire, where the temperatures were measured at 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finkelstein made the mayday call as he and a third firefighter sought to evacuate the infant out of a third floor window.

Here is an excerpt of the recording:

Capt. Andrew Finkelstein: Pumper 51! I need a ladder up to the second floor! Right now! Right now! Mayday! Mayday!

Commander: Dispatch?

Dispatcher: Go ahead 60th Street Command.

Commander: I’m being told, sound of Mayday. Second floor crew.


Dispatch: All units, Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Second floor crew. All units Mayday.

Mace said in the time it took for another crew to get a ladder up to a third floor window and get the baby out safely, a Rapid Intervention Team came in with more water and provided an escape path for the three firefighters.

Mace also said for the brief moments one firefighter was trapped on the second floor stairwell, the 800 degree heat destroyed protective gear that's supposed to last 10 years. The chief said that gear is being replaced.

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