Lincoln Fire & Rescue officials say a new procedure may have helped a woman survive serious smoke inhalation.
Fire crews were called to an apartment fire near 26th and J streets around 6:30 Wednesday night. Officials say firefighters pulled 30-year-old Brianna Johnson out of the heavy smoke. She was unconscious at the time, and officials say she may have suffered from smoke inhalation.
"Once they opened the door and went in, it was zero visibility," Capt. Brian Giles said Wednesday.
Paramedics were able to resuscitate Johnson, but maybe not without the help of an antidote called hydroxocobalamin. The treatment combats hydrogen cyanide, a toxic chemical that was used in the Holocaust gas chambers and commonly produced in house fires. Officials say it comes from things like carpet and fabric on our furniture as it burns.
"It's possible that if it's a high enough concentration and they inhale it, death could come pretty quickly," Chief Roger Bonin said.
Bonin says Wednesday night was the first time Lincoln paramedics used the antidote on scene, in Johnson's case, Bonin says it "probably made the difference."
LFR has only had access to the treatment for two years. Bonin says not many departments use it because of the price tag- $800 per dose.
Officials say Johnson regained consciousness a couple minutes after the antidote was used.
"It did what it was supposed to do," Bonin said.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Johnson remains in critical condition. Fire investigators say the fire started on the stove.