Fund created for firefighter from SLO County injured by falling tree

Cal Fire firefighter Damien Pereira
Cal Fire firefighter Damien Pereira Courtesy of Cal Fire

The Fire Family Foundation has established a relief fund for Damien Pereira, a Cal Fire Tulare County firefighter from San Luis Obispo County who suffered major spinal injuries when a large oak tree fell on him on July 3 near Three Rivers.

Pereira, 25, was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where he has remained since the accident. He has undergone two major surgeries to decompress, stabilize and remove damaged vertebrae. Permanent paralysis is a possibility.

Pereira also suffered a collapsed lung and several broken ribs in the accident.

The injuries came while Pereira battled a two-acre wildland fire at Case Mountain near Three Rivers in Tulare County. Firefighters had to cut the tree, which measured about 36 inches in diameter, into pieces before lifting it off of Pereira. Two other inmate firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fund should visit https://firefamilyfoundation.org/tributes/detail/articletype/articleview/articleid/349/damien-pereira-recovery-fund. Checks should be made payable to Fire Family Foundation, 815 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, 90041 with “Damien Pereira Recovery Fund” in the notation.

The money will go toward easing the financial hardships of Pereira’s wife and 2-year-old son. Rehabilitation isn’t available in their hometown, so the family will have to travel for treatment. His wife will also have to reduce her work hours to care for her husband and child, the foundation said.

The Fire Family Foundation is a nonprofit founded by the Firefighters First Credit Union to aid firefighters and their families in times of tragedy.