Followup on firefighter burned on Colorado’s Heartstrong fire

Heartstrong fire

Heartstrong fire, March 18, 2012. Photo by Tony Rayl / Yuma Pioneer, used with permission

The firefighter that was burned after being entrapped on the Heartstrong fire in northeastern Colorado on March 18 is in a burn center in Greeley, Colorado. Jennifer Struckmeyer is being treated in the Western States Burn Center at North Colorado Medical Center for 3rd degree burns.

On Monday when we heard that a firefighter was hospitalized with burn injuries we notified the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF), a non-profit organization that provides assistance to firefighters and their families after accidents or fatalities on wildfires. Today we talked with Vicki Minor, the Executive Director and founder of the WFF, who told us that Ms. Struckmeyer is listed in critical condition and that the burn injuries to her feet and hands are of the most concern. Thankfully she does not have any respiratory damage, but is expected to be in the hospital for four to six weeks. The WFF has contacted her family and offered the services that they can provide.

Firefighters with the Greeley Fire Department are also assisting the family, giving them some gift cards and taking them out to dinner. Along with the WFF, the Greeley FD folks also provided a great deal of assistance to the family of Austin Whitney, one of the firefighters that was burned on the Coal Canyon fire in South Dakota in August, 2011 who was also treated at the Greeley Burn Center. His fellow crew member, Trampus Haskvitz, was killed during that burn over.

If you are wondering how you can help Ms. Struckmeyer, or other firefighters that are seriously injured on a wildfire, consider making a donation to the WFF. They do great work for injured firefighters and their families. A few weeks ago I re-upped my membership in the 52 Club, a $52 donation which represents a dollar for each week of the year.

Heartstrong fire

These two photos were taken by Tony Rayl of the Yuma Pioneer on March 18, the day the fire started, and are used here with his permission.

The photos remind me of one that was taken in Australia in 2009 that we turned into a caption contest.

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About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+

One thought on “Followup on firefighter burned on Colorado’s Heartstrong fire

  1. It’s allways sad to hear about a on the job injury to one of our fellow firefighters and in particular burns.
    WFF picks up some of the expenses that are not covered by workman’s comp or insurance along with dealing with other issues. If my math is correct, one WFF membership for the year is about fourteen cents a day. So back in January when I got my renewal notice from WFF I just decided to double my yearly donation. Two bottles of beer or one cup of that fancy city slicker coffee less a week for me this year.

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