NEW ORLEANS – A Jefferson Parish firefighter who was injured when he fell through a third floor roof while fighting a fire at an Old Metairie condominium last week faces a long recovery, but has made progress so far.
Jefferson Parish Fire Department Chief Dave Tibbetts said Dan Ziegler suffered second and third degree burns to his face, hands, and back during the February 2 fire at 501 Rue St. Peter Street.
Ziegler also suffered inhalation injuries to his lungs before his fellow firefighters were able to pull him from the flames.
“His condition is critical at this time, and Dan continues to fight to recover from this devastating injury,” Tibbetts said.
Ziegler was rushed to the burn center at University Medical Center immediately, which Tibbetts said is a blessing to Ziegler and his family.
“Prior to us opening, he would have required transport out of the community,” UMC Burn Center Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Carter said. “It really is a great benefit that we are able to have this kind of facility here with the wonderful team of nurses and therapists upstairs to provide the kind of care he needs.”
Ziegler faces several more weeks of recovery time in the hospital, and it will take several more months to get back to normal, Carter said.
Ziegler’s brother, Bill Ziegler, said firefighting runs in their family.
“There are five brothers in our family, and four of us are firefighters,” Bill Ziegler said. “We have a brother-in-law that also a firefighter with us in Jefferson Parish.”
All of the Ziegler firefighters were drawn to helping the community and to the job of putting out fires, Bill Ziegler said, even though that job does come with very real consequences.
“This burn center is something that is needed for the community, for the first responder community, for everyone as a whole,” he said. “They’ve been just like angels from heaven for us. We appreciate everything they’ve done, we appreciate our brother and sister firefighters from Jefferson Parish who have stepped up with the visits, the phone calls, the prayers. The GoFundMe account that they set up has just been a great response from everybody to help us out with that.”