Most South Florida firefighters at a weekend fundraiser said they’ve never met a firefighter who was severely burned in a Martin County fire.
Still, they said they consider 22-year-old Jahwann McIntyre their brother. So in an act of camaraderie, they spent their Sunday washing cars in Miami Beach to raise funds for his mounting medical expenses.
“It’s a sad course of events,” said Chief Daniel Wouters, with Martin County Fire Rescue. “We never want to see anybody get injured."
Thursday, McIntyre suffered burns while rushing into a fiery home in the Stuart area, officials said. He and two other firefighters somehow got trapped, and McIntyre was the worst injured of the three, with burns across much of his body.
McIntyre was taken by helicopter from the western part of Martin County to Jackson Memorial Hospital's burn unit. Sunday, he remained listed in serious condition at Jackson.
Adonis Garcia, with the Miami Beach Fire Department, said it was McIntyre’s first year on the job.
Nevertheless, “whether he's a one-year firefighter or a 25-year firefighter, we're going to be here for him the same way,” Garcia said. “The problem is a very slow recovery, and we just want him to know he's not alone.”
McIntyre’s friend told NBC 6 that he is calm and resting. It’s too early to say how long McIntyre will be in the hospital. The only certainty is that it will be a long recovery.
Those who participated in raising funds said they hoped to have a hefty check for McIntyre to help with his mounting medical expenses.
"As cliché as it may sound, we are ‘all for one and one for all,’” Garcia said. “We are a family and firefighters whether it's here or in Alaska or wherever we are, we're there for each other.”
Wouters called the outpouring of support “phenomenal.”
“We've had stations stopping by every day to see us and show their support,” he said.
Garcia said they didn't really have a goal of how much money they wanted to raise Sunday. But he said they were pleased with the turnout. He said they planned to have more car washes in the coming weeks to help the injured firefighter.