A firefighter who underwent surgery after being struck by a car while battling a blaze near Murphys was in “good spirits” at a Modesto hospital Thursday morning, according to Cal Fire.
Nathan Fyock, 39, of Modesto, suffered serious injuries in the accident, which happened on Skunk Ranch Road about 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday.
California Highway Patrol said Fyock was standing near a Cal Fire engine that was parked across the roadway east of Ponderosa Road when a 2002 Mazda Miata driven by Kirsten Vader, 34, of Murphys, struck him and then crashed into the fire engine.
Vader was driving about 30 to 35 mph in heavy smoke conditions with nearly zero visibility caused by the “rapidly burning forest fire.”
Fyock was transported by helicopter to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for treatment. Vader reportedly was not injured and declined medical attention at the scene.
The hospital Thursday afternoon had Fyock listed in “fair condition,” meaning his vital signs are stable and he’s conscious but may be uncomfortable.
CHP Officer Rebecca Myers said drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the crash, but the accident remained under investigation.
Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said Fyock has been a seasonal firefighter assigned to the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit for the past five years. He didn’t know the exact station where Fyock worked.
Berlant said Cal Fire deployed a “serious accident review team” which investigates accidents where an employee has been injured or a piece of equipment damaged in an effort to determine ways to prevent it from happening again.
Berlant also said a “stress debriefing unit” was dispatched to aid fellow firefighters or witnesses affected by the accident.
Fyock’s father, Timothy Fyock, of Texas, said he would travel to California today to be with his son and family. Nathan Fyock has a wife and two children, his father said.
The elder Fyock said his son loves to fish and spend time with his children.
“He’s a very compassionate person who loves to help people,” Timothy Fyock said.
He didn’t want to discuss any details about his son’s injuries without first talking to the rest of the family, but said the accident was “very, very serious.”