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Ventura County Focus / Countywide | SIMI VALLEY

Scalded Firefighter to Receive Skin Graft

January 25, 1998|HILARY E. MacGREGOR

A firefighter who was burned from the waist down with scalding water Friday will receive a small skin graft and remain at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital for about 10 days, fire officials said Saturday.

A second firefighter, who was also drenched with steaming water, was released from the hospital, said Sandi Wells, spokeswoman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

Fire Engineer Terry Lamb and Firefighter Juan Carrillo were burned when a hose failed during a routine test, officials said.

The firefighters were conducting a pumping and hose test at Fire Station No. 41 at 1910 N. Church St. in Simi Valley when the accident occurred at 3:12 p.m. Friday.

Both were taken to Simi Valley Hospital, where they were treated and stabilized. They were flown by Sheriff's Department helicopter to the burn center.

Wells said they are still trying to determine the cause of the accident.

Officials believe the accident happened because the hose was attached to a ladder truck, rather than a firetruck, which carries its own tank of water.

As the water flows through the hose, Wells said, friction causes the water to grow extremely hot. Without the tank, there is no way to cool it off. The hose had a failure at the pump panel and burst onto the two men, who were checking gauges.

Lamb received burns on both legs 6 to 10 inches above the boot line, and Carrillo was burned to the belt.

Wells said such an accident had never happened before at the county Fire Department.

"We will be looking at this to determine if that practice needs to change," she said, referring to the use of the hose on the ladder truck. "We may need to change not just our department but other departments as well."

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