When Meriden Fire Chief Ken Morgan learned of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, his first concern was the safety of his family and friends.
Morgan, the former deputy fire chief of Nevada’s Clark County Fire Department, which covers the city of Las Vegas, said his daughter as well as hundreds of firefighters he worked with live and work in the area.
“To see that kind of horror, it takes a toll on them,” Morgan said Monday. “We don’t train for that capacity because we’ve never had to deal with that kind of capacity.”
On Sunday night, at least 59 people were killed and over 500 were injured in Las Vegas after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Morgan served as Clark County’s deputy fire chief for more than 23 years. He moved to Meriden after taking over as fire chief in 2013.
“My thoughts and prayers are out for the families of the people who died and were injured,” Morgan said. “They’re a top- notch (fire) department.”
In a mass casualty situation, firefighters attempt to minimize loss of life by assessing victims quickly, Morgan said. If firefighters believe a victim can’t be saved, they move on to the next person.
“The goal of the whole system is to get to as many people as we can,” he said. “No normal amount of training is going to prepare for the actual incident. To actually go through and triage 400- plus people, it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort.”
In accordance with a proclamation from President Trump, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered all flags in Connecticut to be flown at half staff through Friday evening.
“Our hearts are breaking for the Las Vegas community,” Malloy said in a statement. “This morning, our nation woke up to yet another senseless tragedy — one that we have seen repeated far too many times.
“We are incredibly grateful to the first responders and the everyday citizens who bravely risked their lives to save others,” Malloy added. “We send our sincerest condolences to those who have lost loved ones and we pray for the recovery of the survivors. To all those impacted by last night’s shooting — Connecticut stands with you.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy called for action on a federal level.”
“This must stop,” he said in a statement Monday. “It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic. There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal offered condolences to those impacted by the shooting.
“The nation’s conscience must be galvanized,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said the shooting was “horrific in its scale and senselessness.”
“The frequency of these awful events — Newtown, Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas, and the list unfortunately goes on — is striking and must be met with immediate action,” she said in a statement. “Gun violence has taken far too many American lives from us too soon. Commonsense reforms such as banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring a background check for every commercial gun sale, and supporting federal research into the causes of gun violence, can help save lives.”