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news item News Wednesday, November 28, 2018 Wednesday, November 28, 2018 6:42 PM - Wednesday, November 28, 2018 6:42 PM

Firefighter visit lifts spirits of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California burn patient

Sacramento area firefighters took time out of their busy schedules to pay a special visit to a burn patient in the intensive care unit at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California.

Shortly before lunch on Tuesday, November 13, a hook-and-ladder truck from the Sacramento Fire Department pulled up on the X Street side of the Northern California Shriners Hospital and raised its ladder to a specially marked window on the fourth floor. A firefighter dressed in full gear scaled the ladder to wave through the window to a patient who has been recovering in the ICU for many weeks.

The surprise was an emotional moment and a bright spot for all involved – the patient, his mother, staff and the firefighters. It was a poignant reminder of how firefighters go out of their way to make a positive difference in the lives of children recovering from burn injuries.

After hearing how much the young patient likes firefighters, retired firefighter Oscar Barrera worked with the Northern California Shriners Hospital nurses and social workers to coordinate the visit. He said the visit provided a “feel good” moment that stays with firefighters and bolsters them when they are responding to emergencies in the field. 

“It’s wonderful to see we can make a difference for kids in the hospital,” Oscar said. 

Niko King, deputy fire chief for the Sacramento Fire Department, echoed that same sentiment. “The pace of being a firefighter today in the City of Sacramento brings us to several emergencies a day. It isn’t very often where we can pause and connect with a person who has suffered a tragedy and is on their journey to recovery. To be able to visit for a moment, show off our fire truck, and put a smile on a kid’s face creates a memory that lasts longer than the lifetime of our careers,” he said.

The firefighters also visited kids in the play area on the second floor before jumping back on the truck and heading to their next call.

Firefighter on ladder gives burn patient a fist bump through window