NAS-Kingsville firefighters recognized for life-saving effort

Two firefighters at Naval Air Station-Kingsville were recognized Thursday for their heroic efforts during a fire that happened over the summer.

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Two firefighters at Naval Air Station-Kingsville were recognized Thursday for their heroic efforts during a fire that happened over the summer.

Both responded to a call of two other firefighters in distress. 3News got to speak with the brave men, who shared what they experienced that day.

It was back in July when a massive fire broke out in Kingsville involving 35 fire units and more than 100 firefighters. When Captain Peter David Gonzales and Firefighter Andrew Jacob Caperton were thrown into action responding to the mayday call of their brothers, they said it was their training that allowed them to successfully accomplish the mission.

"It was a lot bigger than what we had thought when we first got there," Caperton said. "The row of stores, we could see flames already starting to come out front."

With the smoke thick and dense, Gonzales and Caperton quickly dropped to their knees upon entering the burning building.

"Couldn't see if you stood up. It was hot immediately, even through all of our gear," Caperton said. "I couldn't even see my own hand in front of me. It was that dense of smoke."

Calling out to their brothers, the two were only able to see with a thermal.

"Able to navigate through narrow passageways following material in that building," Caperton said.

Halfway inside, they heard one of the firefighters alarm go off.

"When that alarm goes off, it means the person wearing that has low oxygen left," Caperton said. "Hurry up and get out type of alarm."

After navigating to the confused and unstable firefighters, the two heroes worked quickly to get them through the building.

"I just remember grabbing a hand and pulling him this way, you know? Came back out the way we came in," Caperton said.

Gonzalez and Caperton brought their fellow firefighters to safety and immediately rushed to help fight the fire.

"Wasn't until the end we realized what we did," Gonzales said. "A sense of satisfaction. We were able to help our brothers out."

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