Lee Look Trauma SurvivorLee Look of Louisville, KY is a firefighter for the St. Matthews Fire & EMS. On the night of October 1st, 2022, at about 2:30 in the morning, Lee’s fire crew was called in to fight a fire at an apartment complex on Glen Eagle Drive off Brownsboro Road. Upon arrival, the blaze had already spread to other units in the apartment complex. “It had already gotten a pretty good headstart on us.” An Engine and a Ladder had arrived on scene at the same time, so Lee initiated the process of search and rescue. The blaze had become so intense, that the heat had started burning through the hose Lee’s crew brought in, as well as the equipment that Lee was wearing.Lee Look Trauma Survivor

After clearing the unit the fire had started in, as well as the adjoining hallways, “..the fire had lit off again, so my way out was blocked. At that point, my low-air alarm was going off and I had to come up with another way out. Visibility was bad, I fumbled around, found a window, and kicked it out.” Lee was able to call over a ladder to the window he was about to exit. After exiting the building, the EMS team and ambulance removed Lee’s fire fighting suit and evaluated his burns, at which point he was transferred immediately to UofL Health’s Burn Clinic. After assessing burns in his hands and legs, Lee was discharged, and began his road to recovery. Ultimately the UofL Health team was able to help Lee and his partner, Sandy, form a strategy.

What followed was several long months of a very intense and very intimate recovery, whereby Lee’s partner, Sandy Adams  “...went from being my partner to being my nurse. She had to learn how to do all that [clean and re-dress Lee’s burns] overnight…She had to give me a shower, she had to brush my teeth, she had to wash my face, she had to do everything for me. I had no use of either hand.” Lee notes that the time was challenging but enriching, because every morning the two would have to wake up at 4:30 to dress his hands and prepare for the workday ahead. This time also served as a daily check-in, whereby they could communicate about everything that had happened the night before. “The intimacy we had for those 70 where she had to do this was remarkable and unexpected.”

Lee’s bandages were removed in December 2022 and he began his journey with occupational therapy later that winter. As a mental health professional with Cedar Lake Lodge (in addition to being a firefighter), Lee travels around the state, helping other trauma survivors process their own experiences.

Lee Look.


Trauma Survivor.

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