A firefighter from a Pahala (HI) volunteer company suffered second- and third-degree burns to the lower half of her body last Friday while fighting a nagging underground fire in Ka‘u, reports hawaiitribune-herald.com.
The volunteer firefighter wasn’t named due to medical privacy laws, but the report says it’s Lizzy Stabo, who remains in good spirits in the burn unit at Straub Medical Center in Honolulu.
Officials say the underground fire has been burning for about five months now; it has injured a total of four people, three of whom were civilians.
The area—which used to be sugar cane land—is covered in a cane pulp residue which is burned as fuel, the report says. It appears like normal ground but is burnt underneath and can reach temperatures upwards of 500 degrees—officials say Stabo fell in up to her waist.
Though she was wearing the required protective gear at the time, the report says, it was so hot she couldn’t use her arms to pull herself out.
Officials say Stabo, in her 50s, has been volunteering with the company for more than a decade and is always a pleasure to work with. Officials say there will be an investigation of the incident.
A Facebook page has been set up for donations for Stabo, with $11,702 raised of its $15,000 goal.