CA Firefighter Badly Burned While Battling Caldor Fire

While battling the Caldor Fire, a firefighter sprays water as crews burn vegetation to create a control line along Highway 50 in Eldorado National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Joshua Bote

SFGate, San Francisco


Aug. 30—A Central California firefighter is hospitalized with severe burns sustained in the Caldor Fire.

Richard Gerety III, a volunteer firefighter for the West Stanislaus County Fire Protection District and a John Deere mechanic, was severely burned Saturday afternoon while fighting the massive blaze, reports the Fresno Bee.

West Stanislaus Fire Chief Jeff Gregory told the Bee that Gerety was part of a three-person team covering the northeast portion of the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County.

By Saturday, Gerety was on his 10th day of service, Gregory told the news station, when he fell on a “burned area” and sustained third-degree burns on his arms and second-degree burns on his legs.

(Gregory did not immediately respond to a request for comment from SFGATE.)

Twenty percent of Gerety’s body reportedly suffered burns.

Gerety is at UC Davis Medical Center’s burn unit, recovering from his injuries. He is expected to receive a skin graft Wednesday, and his wife, Jennifer Gerety, will stay by his side for the month he’s recovering, she told the Bee.

“He’s in very good spirits but in a lot of pain,” she told the newspaper.

As of late Monday morning, the Caldor Fire has burned 177,260 acres and is 14% contained, according to Cal Fire.


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