Tree falls on firefighter from SLO County
July 6, 2015
A firefighter who resides in San Luis Obispo County suffered major injuries, including broken vertebrae, after a tree fell on him in Eastern Tulare County.
Damien Pereira, 25, was mopping up a small wildland fire around 6:30 p.m. Friday when a 36-inch diameter oak tree fell. The tree pinned him for several minutes, according to a Cal Fire news release.
In addition to broken vertebrae, Pereira suffered injuries to his spinal cord, broken ribs and bruised internal organs. He underwent surgery on Saturday and more surgery is planned.
Pereira previously worked as a firefighter in SLO County. He was transferred to Tulare County about two years ago, the Fresno Bee reported.
Two other firefighters suffered minor to moderate injuries when the oak tree fell. Those firefighters are California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmates who are part of the CDCR’s fire camp program.
An ambulance transported the inmate firefighters to a local hospital. They received treatment and were released to the CDCR’s custody.
Additional firefighters in the area removed the tree that pinned Pereira. A helicopter transported him to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where received treatment in the trauma unit.
Pereira’s family and friends have come to the hospital to support him.