WEST PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. – In the darkest smoke and brightest flames, volunteer firefighters rush to danger. Tuesday, a once-in-a-lifetime mayday call made West Pulaski firefighters thankful for their training.

On a sweltering Tuesday afternoon, under 50 pounds of gear and smoke so thick you couldn’t even tell who was standing next to you, 30 firefighters battled a big blaze.

“The smoke was over the trees and just roaring out this way. I mean it was incredible,” Laura Armbruster recalled of the disaster which took her home.

Firefighters were more than an hour into battling a grueling house fire, and in the heat of the moment on the second floor of Armbruster’s house, one firefighter was hit in the head by something in the dark and blacked out. Collegeville Volunteer Firefighters hailed a mayday.

“The first thought is of course everyone is going to be scared. Then it was complete confidence,” said West Pulaski Volunteer Fire Department Chief Scott Joblin.

His men were the first to respond to the fire, and he remembers a Crystal Volunteer firefighter was resuscitated but that he shortly blacked out again.

“We knew that it was then. We had to do it on our own,” Joblin said.

Relying on their training, firefighters carried their unconscious brother to a second-story window. The firefighter came to and was transported by MEMS to Baptist

Health Little Rock where he made a full recovery that same day.

Laura Armbruster told our station what firefighters told her when she arrived at her already burning house.

“He went a mile a minute the whole time he was here up until that happened, and he didn’t even want to leave,” she said

Laura and her husband Paul Armbruster are not left with much but charred walls and a great appreciation for the firefighters.

“Not only did they put out the fire, but they also comforted me, they comforted my daughter, they comforted my dogs,” Laura said.

And her family has only one way to express their gratitude for what these volunteers put on the line while making sure everyone came home.

Paul said, “We love y’all. Thank you.”

Maydays like Tuesday are so rare Chief Joblin said it was the first in all his 28 years fighting fires, but they train for this exact situation every month.

Because of a nationwide shortage of volunteer firefighters, it took nine fire departments to get the 30 men needed to safely respond to this fire. If you are interested in giving back to your community in this way, they ask you reach out to them.