SEATTLE, WA - A Nez Perce County Rural Fire Department volunteer firefighter who was severely injured while fighting a fire in the area of Webb Ridge Road and Flat Iron Road at around 12:58 p.m. Monday afternoon was airlifted via airplane to the University of Washington Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center this morning.
Fire crews were dispatched to the scene at around 12:31 p.m. for a small fire which quickly grew to over 15 acres. Shortly after crews arrived on the scene, an urgent call was made for an ambulance. Jim Ralstin was initially transported to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center where he began treatment for burns on approximately 50% of his body, according to his daughter, Crystal Morgan. She adds that Life Flight crews were unable to fly him to Seattle for several hours due to thunderstorms.
Ralstin has been a volunteer firefighter for at least 15 years and Morgan says her 70-year-old dad "loves fighting fires and helping the community."
Morgan says her dad is in critical but stable condition.
"According to burn depths he has the worst on his arms, hands, left leg, lower abdomen and back. His face has superficial burns. Upon arrival he was in an emergency situation because of the swelling. They had to cut into his arms to release the pressure to regain blood flow. They placed another line to measure blood pressure and are doing routine diagnostic, eye exam, heart ultrasound and lung function. He's in the acute phase which means focusing on fluids, organ function, blood supply and lungs. Brain is not responding at this time but still too early," Morgan posted on her Facebook page.
Donations to assist the family with travel and medical costs can be made in Jim Ralstin's name at P1FCU.