Milwaukee firefighter back on the job after June duplex explosion

MILWAUKEE -- A group of firefighters are back at work after a brush with death last June. Five firefighters were injured after a duplex exploded, and one of those injured sat down with FOX6 News to talk about his recovery.

It was a call for a gas leak that took a turn for the worse.  Milwaukee Fire Battalion Chief Raymond Groth was the first in the duplex near 38th and Townsend, followed by a team of firefighters.

"In the process of making our way up the stairs, the house exploded on us," Groth said.

Groth was thrown down a flight of stairs, eventually making it outside. Groth and four other firefighters were badly burned.

"It was a pretty big explosion, pretty traumatic," Groth said.

With burns on his face, arms and hands, Groth spent three weeks in the ICU and months at home recovering. Now, he's back on the job.

Groth wears gloves and sleeves to cover his burns. Underneath are visible scars and skin still healing.

Groth said he now looks at his job in a different light and has no hesitations about going on another call.

"We did what we were supposed to do and sometimes things happen and we move forward," Groth said.

In the end, Groth said he sees himself as lucky and is happy to be back at work and happy to be healthy.

"To think that one: we weren`t killed and two: we`re able to come back in such a short time, no doubt in my mind, God played a role in making sure things were supposed to happen," Groth said.

Four of the five firefighters injured in the explosion on back on the job.  One injured captain is expected to return to work next spring.

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