It isn’t natural for a firefighter to ask for help from the community.
“I think, at the end of the day, they would not ask for any help and they would just handle it themselves,” Chula Vista fire captain Jeff Lindgren said.
Four Chula Vista Firefighters were injured Jan. 25 when a strong wind fanned a fire inside the Action Footwear store in Chula Vista. An investigation later revealed the fire was accidental. Three of the firefighters are recovering at home, but the fourth first responder was burned more severely. Lindgren said that man could be in the hospital and off the job for months.
“He’s still in good spirits. but all our members are concerned,” Lindgren said. “They want to make sure that he’s doing well and that he’s healing. It’s sobering on a personal level to know that guys you work next to are not home with their family, they’re not back at work.”
The CVFD has not released the names of the injured firefighters.
Lindgren said the firefighters’ coverage and worker’s compensation claims will cover a lot of the firefighter’s bills, but there are gaps. He said the Firefighter’s Foundation and Association started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help bridge those gaps. Notably, he said, they want to make sure the firefighter’s family can be near him during his recovery.
NBC 7’s Omari Fleming has the latest from the scene.
“He lives at a great distance [from the hospital],” Lindgren said. “So it’s a significant additional cost for his family to be by his side. If you’ve ever had a loved one in the hospital, it’s hard. You don’t care about anything except your loved one getting home.”
Lindgren added that it would be hard for the injured firefighter to accept the assistance.
“It’s hard for us to receive help, because we are the ones people call to help them,” LIndgren said.
The fire broke out at around 5:40 p.m. at 655 H Street, according to the Chula Vista Fire Department.