Luling firefighter commended for heroism after saving child’s life

To those who ask about it, Andre Poteet will downplay his actions on the night of May 24, insisting he simply was doing his job and relying on his training to guide his instincts.

For one family, however, Poteet is and forever will be a hero for what he did that night.

Responding to an emergency call, Poteet and his fellow firefighters with the Luling Volunteer Fire Department reached the scene and found a badly injured child who was in the care of a nurse who was passing by. The child was bleeding after being bitten by a dog and his life was in danger.

“She found the child and was using what she could, T-shirts, to apply pressure and stop the bleeding,” said Poteet. “As I did an examination she said she didn’t know for sure if (the dog) hit an artery or not.”

The answer to that question could have been the difference between living and dying for the child if swift action wasn’t taken. Poteet said there was medical equipment on the truck the department carries in case of emergency and he went to retrieve a tourniquet, which he applied to the child’s leg.

“We had to make sure we could stop the bleeding,” he said.

That’s exactly what they did – it stabilized the situation and allowed the needed time for the child to get to the hospital for further care.

He had to keep his wits about him – that he did, he said, is a reflection of his preparation.

“I just go back to my training,” he said. “Here in St. Charles Parish, they always say to save a life, you have to keep a cool head. That way you make the right decision.”

Recently, Poteet was honored by Ochsner St. Charles Parish Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medical Services, which wrote a letter of commendation for Exemplary Life Saving Actions to Luling Fire Chief Barry Minnich regarding Poteet’s heroism that night.

Huey Marcel, with St. Charles Parish Hospital EMS, wrote, “Poteet’s quick thinking and decisive actions in placing a tourniquet on a child’s leg not only provided immediate and critical care, but also exemplified the highest standards of dedication and professionalism.

“In moments of crisis, it is individuals like Andre Poteet who make a profound difference … you should be incredibly proud to have him as part of your team. His bravery and competence serves as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the true essence of our mission and the positive difference we can make in the lives of those we serve.”

Poteet, a career firefighter who began seven years ago, has been with the Luling department for the past year and is a lifelong resident of the West Bank of St. Charles Parish.

“It felt good (to receive the recommendation),” Poteet said. “I was just doing my job and it was not just me. You just hope to help someone.”

His inspiration to become a firefighter stems from his father, who volunteered in New York following the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, 2001.

“Seeing the brotherhood of that time between all of the firefighters, then years later seeing New York return the favor by sending firefighters down here after Hurricane Katrina, it made me realize how proud I would be to be a part of that,” Potent said. “And I’m always proud of that brotherhood between my coworkers and I.”


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