Jahwann McIntyre: Martin County firefighter testifies in Joseph Haas arson trial

McIntyre suffered severe burns in house fire

 MARTIN COUNTY, Fla.-- The second day of trial wrapped up Thursday evening for Joseph Haas who is accused of setting his house on fire in December of 2012. The smoke and flames injured four Martin County firefighters.

Thursday the most severely injured firefighter, Jahwann McIntyre, took the stand to tell jurors about his injuries and the fear he experienced trying to save potential victims.

McIntyre removed to layers of shirts to show jurors the scarring left behind from burns and skin grafts.

"As of right now, this is as far as I can open my hands," McIntyre said as he demonstrated how he can barely straighten his fingers.

Even after more than 20 surgeries, McIntyre told jurors he may never fully recover, or restore full function in his fingers.

Investigators say McIntyre was injured in a fire set by Joseph Haas, who they say set the fire to the foreclosed home because he didn't want the bank to take it.

McIntyre was one of three firefighters sent inside the burning home to search for survivors.

"It was bad. I couldn't see. I couldn't hear. I didn't know where I was. The room was completely dark," McIntyre described the scene.

McIntyre said he and two other firefighters were searching the top floor of the home when they got separated.

He says there was a sudden flash of light, and the room became too hot to bear.

"I'm kicking and screaming in pain, hoping my co-workers don't let me die in this room," McIntyre said.

McIntyre described being lost and burning for several minutes, unable to see anything. "I have my whole life flashing in front of me. I was 22-years-old at the time. I thought I was going to die."

Eventually, he says a fellow firefighter found him and saved him. "After the point to where I was like,'this is it,' someone grabbed me. Someone grabbed my pack."

McIntyre says he was grabbed and pulled down a flight of stairs to safety before being flown to Miami to begin treatment for his burns.

"Of all the pain I felt up there, I mean, going down those stairs was a relief because I knew I was out of there."

Now 18-months after the fire, McIntyre says he still needs many more surgeries.

He said he had knee surgery scheduled for Wednesday, which had to be postponed to be at the trial.


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