Fund established for injured Bodega firefighter

September 27, 2010 3:08:11 PM PDT
A Bodega volunteer firefighter who was injured at the scene of a 98-acre grass fire on Saturday is improving at St. Francis Memorial Hospital's burn unit in San Francisco today.

Ben Hakala, 37, was up and talking this morning, Cal Fire communication coordinator Michael Selmi said.

The fire started at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday near the 18000 block of state Highway 1. Selmi said there was a report of a downed power line but it's not known whether that caused the fire.

Cal Fire officials said Hakala was injured when he came into contact with the downed line.

The blaze was contained at about 8 a.m. Sunday. It destroyed one structure and two vehicles, and burned a number of eucalyptus trees.

More than 200 firefighters responded to the blaze. Firefighters were still mopping up this morning, Selmi said.

A trust fund has been established to help Hakala and his family with medical expenses, said Sarah Molica, general manager of the Northern Light Surf Shop in Bodega.

Hakala has a wife and 2-year-old daughter, Molica said.

Checks may be dropped off at the surf shop at 17191 Bodega Highway, or mailed to P.O. Box 138 Bodega, 94922. They can also be dropped off at the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department at 17184 Bodega Highway, or mailed to P.O. Box 28, Bodega, 94922.

The surf shop closed early Saturday because of the smoke. It closed early again on Sunday because beach-bound motorists trying to escape 100-degree temperatures inland did not want to stop and lose their place in the backed-up traffic, Molica said.


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