Richard Gerety III comes from a long line of men who have done battle with fire over the years so becoming a volunteer fireman for the West Stanislaus Fire Protection District seemed like coming home in a way. And when he was called upon to go help fight the flames of the Caldor Fire, he didn’t hesitate.
It was at the Caldor Fire that Gerety suffered a serious injury that resulted in second and third degree burns to 20 percent of his body, said his wife Jennifer Gerety, who was raised in Newman.
Gerety was on his 10th day as part of a four-man strike team fighting the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County when he sustained the burn injuries to his hands, arms and legs. He is currently being treated at the burn unit at UC Davis Medical and will have a skin graft soon, said his wife. His recovery is expected to take at least a month.
“He’s in good spirits and telling jokes,” Jennifer said.
Gerety works as a mechanic and started volunteering for the fire department in 2017. He and is wife have a two-year-old son. The family resides in Patterson.
The Caldor Fire has burned through more than 191,000 acres and has prompted mandatory evacuations in multiple California counties and into Nevada. As of Tuesday 600 structures have been destroyed and 40 have been damaged, according to the Cal Fire.
In addition to Gerety there have been four other injuries reported from the fire, including two other firefighters.
Help is being offered to Gerety and his family through the Firefighters Burn Institute and a GoFundMe has been set up to help the family. The account can be reached at https://gofund.me/6ee8437e.