Firefighters who responded after boy was thrown from third floor at MOA share their stories

April 24, 2019 06:20 PM

It's now been 12 days since 5-year-old Landen was thrown from a third-floor balcony at Mall of America.

And now some of the emergency responders, who were the first to arrive on the scene, are sharing their stories.


RELATED: Family spokesperson: Child who was thrown off MOA balcony remains in intensive care

"In my mind, I knew it was going to be chaotic when we arrived there," Bloomington firefighter and paramedic Joe Zinniel said. 

"It's a child, so everything gets amped up a little bit more," added Bloomington Fire Captain Brent Carlson, also a paramedic. 

"We got the truck parked fast and we grabbed our stuff and ran," recalls fellow Bloomington firefighter Steve Peterson.

RELATED: 'Truly a miracle': Child who was thrown off 3rd level at MOA recovering

The three said they hadn't even stepped off their rig from an earlier call on April 12 when they were summoned back out of the fire station to the mall.

"When we first initially got there, to me, it did not look good after assessing him initially," Zinniel remembers.

"I did not think it was going to end well." 

RELATED: Man accused of throwing child from MOA balcony makes first court appearance

Landen was already being helped by two nurses and an off-duty Oakdale firefighter when they arrived, the first responders said.

Within 10 minutes, the little boy was on a stretcher heading for a waiting ambulance.

"We just ran out the door," said Zinniel, who rode to the hospital with Landen. "I mean we were sprinting out the door with him on the stretcher."

RELATED: Suspect accused of throwing child from MOA balcony charged with attempted murder

Carlson said he could see positive signs even before the ambulance left the mall.

"After we loaded them up, I actually felt a little bit better because I saw he was starting to move around a bit in the ambulance," Carlson said. "So I felt good about that."

RELATED: Child pushed in MOA incident suffered multiple fractures, remains hospitalized; suspect held for attempted murder

First reponders generally don't know what happens once patients leave their care.

But these three said they've been so happy to hear positive updates.

"You're just waiting for the news that he's getting better," Peterson said. "And everyday just a little bit better. It makes the heartache go away a little bit." 

RELATED: Police ID man suspected of throwing or pushing 5-year-old from third floor at MOA

They each said they can't wait for the day when Landen is able to stop in for a visit at fire station three in Bloomington.  

"Oh definitely," Peterson said. "When he's feeling up to it, we would love for him to come visit us at the station."

"We'd let him climb up on our fire trucks."

"Yep, maybe take him for a ride," Carlson added .

Their supervisor said Landen could not have had a better crew helping him. Two of the three responding firefighters are full-time paramedics.

But the trio said it was a group effort, crediting everyone from the bystanders who helped out to dispatchers and mall security.

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Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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