Firefighter Recovering after Critical Injury at Brush Fire

HEPBURN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Volunteers in Lycoming County aren't sure how long it will take for a firefighter to recover after she was critically injured Sunday on the job.

The 62-year-old woman was helping to put out a fire when a truck ran over her.

The injured firefighter asked that we not use her name in the story but tells Newswatch 16 she's doing well.

We spoke with her husband briefly Monday afternoon. The couple who live near Cogan Station tell us they believe what happened Sunday was a complete accident

"This is a person who is there with you, helping on those calls, and now, they are the person you are there taking care of," said Trout Run Fire Chief Bob Whitford.

Video sent in by a viewer shows the helicopter headed to the hospital after the firefighter was struck by a brush truck while battling flames near Cogan Station.

"The firefighter gets out of the vehicle. I don't really have all of the details, but ended up getting run over by the vehicle that she was in," said Whitford.

According to police, firefighters were dousing a fire in a field when the wind changed and the fire started to head towards a brush truck. A firefighter backed the truck up without seeing the woman standing behind.

Newswatch 16 spoke with the woman's husband. He says his wife has injuries to her lower body but is doing OK.

Whitford and his firefighters in Trout Run weren't called to the fire, but the chief showed up anyway.

"The department is down one, at least, if not multiple people, because this type of event causes a lot of stress for everybody."

Volunteer firefighters in Hepburn Township are so focused on caring for that firefighter and the others affected by the accident that leaders from across the county are reaching out to help.

"It's second nature. They just want to be there to help."

Chief Whitford and other local fire department leaders have teamed up to make sure if an emergency happens in Hepburn Township, there will be someone there to take care of it.

"Whether it's a tree across the road or it's a working structure fire, we've got a plan in place that they are going to have some extra support there while they are recovering from this."

Investigators say the fire and the woman's injuries are both being ruled as accidents.

As for the firefighter, her husband says she hopes once she heals she'll be able to get back to helping others.