SOUTH FORK — Del Norte Firefighter Adelmo “Demo” Trujillo was injured Wednesday morning at a fire at the Kawasaki dealership in South Fork.
He was flown out to Colorado Springs but was recovering well Wednesday evening and was expected to return home on Friday, according to Del Norte Fire Chief Gilbert Trujillo, Demo’s older brother.
The Del Norte fire department was providing mutual aid to the South Fork Fire Department about 5:30 a.m. when the accident occurred, Chief Trujillo said. Demo Trujillo was working his way up the second story of the building in the back and fell off because the guardrail was missing.
The chief said Demo Trujillo landed on his side and fractured seven ribs and broke an elbow. He also had blood in his lungs, he added.
The chief said the firefighter was flown out as a precautionary measure and as of Wednesday night was resting and recuperating at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. Demo’s wife and parents were at the hospital with him.
“Everything’s going well,” Chief Trujillo said. He said the chest tube that was inserted on Wednesday would likely be removed on Thursday, and medical staff would keep Demo Trujillo for observation. It did not appear as of Wednesday night that he would have to have surgery.
If everything goes well, he will be able to return home on Friday.
“We are just playing the waiting game now, see what happens,” Chief Trujillo said. “We are just thankful the outcome is good.”
The chief said as firefighters this kind of incident is always a possibility, regardless of how well prepared the team is. “It’s not if, it’s when,” he said. “You kind of expect it.”
The chief said he is keeping everyone updated on Facebook. The firefighting community is like a brotherhood, he said, and the Del Norte department literally so, as the chief and his brothers and father have all served or are still serving on the department. Not only as the chief but as a big brother, Gilbert Trujillo said something like this is “gut wrenching, you can never really prepare for it.”
He added, “Every fire you go to you make that one commitment that we all signed on to that everybody goes home. He will be coming home.”