Lapwai, ID

Heroic Volunteer Firefighter Returns Home After 97 Days in Seattle Hospital for Burns

Mia Carlson
Jimmy Ralstin received burns to 50% of his body while fighting a fire in Nez Perce County (Idaho) in mid-May. He returned home today.Photo byLC Valley News

LAPWAI, ID - Lapwai Fire Chief William Skiles would like to express his gratitude to all the local fire departments who helped him with escorting Jimmy Ralstin home today after the volunteer firefighter spent several weeks in a Seattle hospital for treatment of burns suffered while fighting a fire in rural Nez Perce County in mid-May. The 70-year-old Ralstin and his family left Seattle this morning after 97 days at the  University of Washington Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center.

As he edged closer to home, local fire departments and supporters welcomed Ralstin home by escorting him and lining the streets leading into Lapwai.
Local firefighters welcomed Jimmy Ralstin home.Photo byJames Holt, Sr.

"Asotin and Lewiston Clarkston escorted us at Evans Road," Ralstin's daughter Crystal Ralstin-Morgan says.

VIDEO courtesy of Crystal Ralstin-Morgan (additional videos at the bottom of this story):

The 70-year-old Ralstin, a volunteer firefighter for at least 15 years, suffered burns to approximately 50% of his body shortly after arriving at the fire at Webb Ridge Road and Flat Iron Road on May 15th.

Fire crews were dispatched to the scene at around 12:31 p.m. for a small fire which quickly grew to over 15 acres. At around 12:58 p.m., an urgent and distressed call was sent out over the fire department's radio for an ambulance. Chief Skiles drove Ralstin from the fire scene to meet the ambulance.

Ralstin was initially transported to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston where he began treatment. He was airlifted via airplane to Seattle the following morning.

Videos courtesy of Crystal Ralstin-Morgan:

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I am old-school journalism - who, what, where, when, why, and how; and "leave your opinion out of it." Decades of experience covering the region of north-central Idaho and southeast Washington State.

Lewiston, ID

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