- Associated Press - Saturday, July 4, 2015

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a state firefighter suffered major injuries after being pinned under a tree while battling a small wildfire in Central California.

Capt. Ryan Michaels of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says 25-year-old Damien Pereira was in good spirits while recovering at a hospital in Fresno. He underwent surgery Saturday to repair broken vertebrae, and more surgeries are planned to address his broken ribs and bruised internal organs.

The Fresno Bee reports (https://bit.ly/1G0AwUq ) an oak tree fell on Pereira Friday afternoon as firefighters were putting out a lightning-sparked, 2-acre wildfire near Three Rivers, a village in the foothill of the Sierra Nevada.

Two inmate firefighters sustained minor injuries when branches from the tree fell on them.

Pereira is from San Luis Obispo County.



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