Woman catches fire, prompts rescue from Chiva Falls
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It's a trip they'd taken before: an off-roading trip to Chiva Falls. But it'd never ended quite like this.
"The engine stalled," said Lalo Delgado.
Delgado was trying to re-start the car. Meanwhile, his girlfriend was under the hood trying to see if the fuel was making it into the carburetor. That's when an explosion happened.
"She got pretty much covered in gasoline and caught on fire," said Delgado.
There were screams. Delgado says her skin was melting. And they were in the middle of nowhere.
"I laid her down," said Delgado. "I put water on her. Just tried to comfort her."
What's worse, recent rains made it hard for help to show up.
"They had to go even further out," said Deputy Tracy Suitt. "The roads got worse and worse."
Paramedics did what little they could on the ground until the Sheriff's helicopter arrived and airlifted her to Diamond Children's at the University of Arizona Medical Center. As she recovers, the Sheriff's Department wants to prevent this from happening again.
"If you deal with gasoline, the vapors are very explosive and that can start a fire pretty quickly," said Suitt.
It's the vapors that people often forget and can lead to close calls, or in this family's case, life-changing injury.
"It's affected us in every aspect possible," said Delgado. "My kids are totally out of it. It's pretty bad right now."
Lalo's girlfriend will stay in the hospital for at least another week. She's still in pretty bad shape and will needs lots of therapy before she recovers. The Sheriff's Department says if you're off-roading and your vehicle breaks down, don't chance it. Call 911 and have a tow truck respond.