Brett Read is a firefighter in Okanogan County, Washington. On Saturday, Read suffered serious burns while fighting the Grass Valley Fire near Grand Coulee. Read was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated and appears to be making a good recovery.
A GoFundMe page to help Read and his family has already raised over six thousand dollars. The page aims to raise ten thousand.
Here’s what you need to know about Brett Read:
1. Read Has Been a Volunteer Firefighter For Seven Years
Read is a volunteer firefighter for Okanoga County’s 8th fire district. You can find a map of the county’s fire districts here.
He and his partner were working to evacuate people in the Grand Coulee area when the fire suddenly intensified. Read, 38, was badly burned and was rushed to Coulee Medical Center in Grand Coulee, Washington. From there, he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and admitted to the burn unit.
Read’s partner was not injured in the fire.
2. Read and His Partner Encountered ‘Walls of Fire’ 60 Feet High
Fire Chief Ed Townsend said that Read and his partner were trying to leave their work area on Saturday when, as Townsend said, the “fire behavior unexpectedly intensified.”. Townsend said that Read became separated from his engine, which is when he sustained the burns which have left him in the burn ward for the past days.
Read and his partner — and others fighting the flames — encountered “walls of flame” as high as 60 feet, according to Ben Shearer, information officer with the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team. Shearer added that the firefighters were “overrun” with fire for a few hours, which is when Read was injured.
3. Read Is Being Treated For Burns to His Face and Upper Body at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle
Read was rushed to a local hospital — Coulee Medical Center in Grand Coulee, Washington. From there, he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and admitted to the burn unit, where he is now.
News reports say he is making “satisfactory” progress. An update on his GoFundMe page Thursday read, “Yesterday was a day that Brett will never want to ever do again. We wont go into detail but he had a really big procedure that wiped him on his butt. Now to get him back to being himself. Still no update from the doctors they want to see what to see how his body will regenerate.”
4. 128 People Have Already Donated to His GoFundMe Page
A GoFundMe campaign was set up for Read by Tana Norris on Tuesday and is currently trending. So far, in just two days the page has raised over six thousand dollars (the goal is to raise ten thousand.) 128 people had donated small amounts to the page as of Thursday afternoon.
Well-wishers were also leaving comments, thanking Read for his work as a firefighter and wishing him a speedy recovery.
“Thank you for your dedication to fighting fires. We appreciate you so very much and wish you a speedy recovery,” wrote Steve and Jane Nelli. And Kelli Tonasket wrote, “I don’t know him personally, but he is fighting fires on my reservation and near my hometown. Prayers to the family and speedy recovery to Brett!”
5. Brett Lives in Omak With His Wife Florie and Their Three Children
Read lives with his wife and three children in Omak, Washington. Well-wishers on his GoFundMe page sent their love and support to the Read family.
On Thursday, Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, tweeted that he had visited Read in the hospital to make him “Washingtonian of the day.”
“Sending healing prayers Brett and Florie. Thank you for the work you do. God bless you all,” wrote Denise Martin. “Bless you and your family. Thank you for being there for your community. Praying for your speedy recovery,” wrote Cindy Hillis.