By Antonio Planas, Boston Herald:
An off-duty firefighter who sprang into action during last fall’s massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas — where a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds — spoke about his harrowing experience yesterday to a room full of Massachusetts firefighters and urged those struggling after bouts of trauma to get professional help.
Jesse Gomez, 45, a 15-year veteran with the Clark County Fire Department that encompasses Las Vegas and has jurisdiction over Las Vegas Boulevard, was at the country music concert Oct. 1, 2017, when Stephen Paddock began shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Gomez was the keynote speaker yesterday at the A. Michael Mullane Health and Safety Symposium at Florian Hall in Dorchester. Gomez and other personnel from Clark County noted the importance of offering support for firefighters who experience trauma or have other medical or personal problems. Gomez said it took him more than four months before he sought help following the horrors he saw that night. “First of all, I’m not OK. I took me a while to admit that,” Gomez said.
He was at the concert with his wife, Debbie, and other family members when shots rang out about 10:10 p.m. while performer Jason Aldean was on stage.
“The band, everyone, they don’t know what’s going on. … And then you just hear more pop, pop, pop, and all of a sudden … Jason Aldean and his whole band takes off. Everyone at that moment knew what was going on — that someone was shooting,” Gomez said.
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Photo: Christopher Evans