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Injured Local Boy Inspires Lake Forest Firefighters to Smash up Cars for Burn Institute

For the first time, they're participating in the 24th Annual Fire and Safety Expo/Firefighter Demolition Derby.

Photo courtesy the Orange County Fire Authority.
Photo courtesy the Orange County Fire Authority.

Originally posted at 4:58 p.m. June 7, 2014. Edited to add photos.

Firefighters from Station 19 in Lake Forest were in San Diego today, the Del Mar Fairgrounds to be exact, to raise some money and smash some cars.

The money goes to the San Diego County Burn Institute, which also helps patients from Orange County.

The firefighters have one such little guy, Gavin, on their minds.

Gavin is 9. Lake Forest firefighters responded to a burn injury at his home, said Capt. and paramedic Jim Cass. He had been running around in the kitchen while his mom was handling some hot water.

“Unfortunately, he bumped into her causing the water to pour down his upper torso suffering instant burns,” Cass said.

The crew has kept in touch, and Gavin has been recovering well, Capt. Mike Brown reported.

Inspired by the relationship with Gavin and his family, firefighters wanted to “help do something in general for burn patients,” Cass said. Orange County has two designated burn centers but the San Diego County Burn Institute also provide burn survivor support, financial assistance for treatment, burn prevention and supports research and treatment for burn victims.

Firefighter and paramedic J.P. O’hara used to work in San Diego, and was familiar with the derby, Cass said.

An idea was born.

Teams raise money for their derby car and all tax-deductible donations raised go directly to the Burn Institute. Seventeen different departments were represented today.

“Fire station 19-B shift and a couple other off duty members of OCFA will be there on June 7th as the pit crew for our car driven by J.P.,” Cass said.

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