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Barnum firefighter recovering

Towne: Burke injured saving a patient on Oct. 2

October 9, 2012
By PETER KASPARI ( , Messenger News

A volunteer Barnum firefighter and emergency medical technician remains in a Des Moines-area hospital, recovering from serious injuries he received a week ago.

Jeff Burke, a 30-year member of the Barnum Fire Department, responded to a medical emergency on Scenic Drive just north of Fort Dodge on Oct. 2 when the accident happened.

Terry Towne, president of Webster County Emergency Medical Services and the director of Gowrie Ambulance, said the Barnum fire engine somehow began rolling as a patient was about to be loaded into a Trinity Regional Medical Center ambulance.

"Jeff saw the truck coming and pushed the cot out of the way," she said. "The truck hit him, and he took the entire brunt of it. The impact was significant enough that it sprung both of Trinity's doors."

It's believed Burke's actions likely saved the patient's life, according to Towne.

Burke was flown to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines with several broken bones.

"He has two broken femurs, and his pelvis was broken in two different places," she said. "His tibia and fibula in his left leg were broken as well."

He underwent surgery on his leg Monday, according to Towne, who added that doctors believe Burke has a long recovery ahead of him.

Burke was reported to be in fair condition by hospital staff Monday afternoon.

"I believe the doctors told him it would be three to five months before he would even see home," she said. "It's a very long road."

Because of the extent of his injuries, Towne said Webster County EMS is planning a fundraiser for Burke. Though planning is still under way, Towne said it will be held on Oct. 27 in Fort Dodge.

While he recovers, Towne said Burke's absence will be noticed within both the department and the community.

"He's Barnum's training officer, and he seldom misses a call," she said. "He's the first to step up and ask, 'What can I do?' He is the epitome of a volunteer."



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