SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A year later, the memories for a first-responder remain vivid.
“There was water with a trail of blood coming out through. You could hear screams, moans” says Ryan Starling who is a firefighter and also a SWAT team member.READ MORE: 3 Children Stabbed To Death In Reseda Apartment; Mother Captured In Central California After Going On The Run
He spoke to CBS2’s Crystal Cruz for a story that is Only On 2.
Walking into the Inland Regional center a year ago was unlike any call Starling had ever been on.
“You could still smell the gunpowder in the air and all your senses are going, but you know you have a job to get done,” Starling said.
Starling and his team were credited with saving many lives thanks to the triage they set up.READ MORE: Man in Riverside Barricades Himself Against Police After Shooting His Wife
However, Starling praises the IRC employees who a year before the shooting trained for a similar situation.
“They remembered everything that they were trained on,” Starling says, “The fire alarm was pulled, they helped each other out, they ran, barricaded themselves in a room. Who knows? With that fire alarm being pulled, it could’ve scared the terrorists.”
County Fire gave Starling a medal of valor for his work that day and he was also personally thanked by President Barack Obama.
“To get to meet him was a true, true honor,” says Starling, “It’s changed my life over the last year.”MORE NEWS: Couple Reunited With Lost GoPro Camera After Four Years, Thanks To TikTok Users
Cruz said Starling turned the tragedy into a teachable moment, sharing what he learned that day with others in the county.