BUFFALO, N.Y. — This week marks two months since the fire on Butler Avenue that injured four firefighters. One of those firefighters was Eric Whitehead who suffered third-degree burns on his hands. For the first time since the fire, Whitehead described what happened that night.
"The whole street was filled with smoke," Whitehead told 2 On Your Side.
Whitehead said he initially didn't know where the smoke was coming from. When they did figure out the house that was on fire, Whitehead and his fellow firefighters made their way into the house and eventually to the attic. Whitehead says he was assaulted by heat and debris.
"I was hit by some debris. It knocked my helmet off and I lost the hose line," he said.
"I was disorientated. I just relied on my training to stay calm because I knew my brothers were close."
Those brothers are his fellow firefighters who Whitehead says saved his life and he says they’ve been there for him every step of his recovery. Many of them even came out in droves for fundraisers in his name. The support has been invaluable to Whitehead since he was injured.
“All I got to do is pick up the phone and anything I ask, it’s usually done before I even ask."
Whitehead's recovery has been a long one. He spent a month recovering at Erie County Medical Center. He's still attending therapy sessions three times a week. Whitehead says the most difficult part of his recovery is not being able to be ac active as he wants.
"You know how slow the progression is it’s just rough for me because I’m a real big gym person and athletic," he told 2 On Your Side.
Recovery has been slow and Whitehead says most of his progress involves being able to put on his own socks and open a few doors for himself. He still doesn't know how long his recovery will be but he's anxious to get back to the job he loves.