A member of the state fire marshal's office who was on duty at the Ringling Bros. circus sprang into action Sunday when a suspended apparatus holding eight acrobats plunged to the floor at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
"The whole thing was just so surreal. Then all of a sudden we're all in the middle of it," Bruce Quinn said Tuesday.
Quinn, a member of the state bomb squad, said most of his focus was on one particular performer, Stefany Neves, who was in serious condition Tuesday.
"She said she was 19, this was her first year with the circus," Quinn said.
He said at first she said she couldn't feel her legs but then, "She screamed, 'My legs hurt.' I said, 'That's good because that means you have some feeling down there,'" Quinn said. "We just tried to comfort, console, maintain in-line stabilization of the head and neck."
In his role with the state fire marshal's office, Quinn said his main focus at the circus was to make sure any pyrotechnics went off safely. Little did he know his role would change so quickly when things took a turn for the worse.
"You just react. Sounds weird, but you don't really think. You just do. I instinctively leapt over and ran to help," Quinn said.
Quinn also said he and others helped gather evidence at the scene in what will no doubt be an extensive investigation.