The Creek Fire has now become the largest single fire in California history. It’s a blaze that has devastated our local mountain community, and there are many who had to be rescued out of the inferno to safety. Hundreds were celebrating the Labor Day weekend near Mammoth Pool Reservoir when the Creek Fire expanded and essentially trapped them.
The California National Guard sent military helicopters to rescue the campers who were then triaged and treated at the Fresno-Yosemite National Airport. Four people who suffered more serious burns were rushed to Community Regional Medical Center and treated at the Leon S. Peters Burn Center.
It was an emotional moment as Karla Carcamo walked out of the hospital with her younger brother and sister. Karla’s siblings, 25-year old Christian Aviles and 17-year old Priscilla Aviles, both suffered burn injuries from the Creek Fire.
“Priscilla had on both her calves and her arm and her face, her ear, I can’t get that out of my head. She just kept shaking and I was so grateful that they were alive,” said Karla.
Their whole family had been camping in the Sierra National Forest as they do every year. When the Creek Fire broke out on Labor Day weekend, they found themselves right in the middle of the blaze. More than 200 campers were rescued out of the area by military helicopters and four survivors, including Priscilla and Christian, were rushed to the hospital with burn injuries.
Shana Henry is the nursing clinical supervisor in the Leon S. Peters Burn Center. She said, “Our team of burn surgeons, which we have four amazing surgeons who came together and basically assisted with triage… burn nurses went down to the emergency and trauma bay and assisted our trauma staff with doing wound care making sure that their pain needs were met.”
Shana helped treat the Aviles family. Priscilla underwent surgery for her injuries and her brother was treated for hand and arm burns and minor burns on his leg.
Karla added, “Shana and her team, oh my God, I can’t express how thankful I am for them… I just want to thank them because they’ve treated us like we’re they’re family.”
Karla and her siblings are from the Los Angeles area, but said they’re so grateful they were brought to the Leon S. Peters Burn Center at Community Regional and received care from the most comprehensive burn center in the Central Valley. Karla said her sister struggled with her burn injuries, but the medical staff went above and beyond to make the teen feel better.
“All the girls have been so amazing they make her laugh you know… me seeing them how they treated her, how they were talking to her making jokes with her and just basically giving her self-esteem boost because she was so down,” added Karla.
After more than two weeks, the family was discharged and able to go home, grateful for the excellent care they received.
Karla ended, “It’s a little peace of mind going home knowing that whatever I need or whatever concern I have, they’re not telling me, ‘Bye, it was nice seeing you,’ they’re telling me, ‘We’ll see you later, if you need anything call us’. It’s great.”