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UPDATE: Injured Firefighter in 'Good Spirits' Following Night in Burn Unit

The firefighter is in stable condition in the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Update; 11/14, 9:10 a.m.

Fire Chief Vinnie Smith reports that Wayland's injured firefighter is "in exceptionally good spirits," but will remain in the hospital for another one to three days for a full evaluation by ear and eye specialists.

Smith has not confirmed the identity of the firefighter at the request of his family.

According to the chief's most recent report, "the injured firefighter ... is looking forward to returning to work."

The chief's report continues:

Looking back at the incident he understands that fire training can prepare you to predict fire behavior, but human behavior is quite another matter. Put in the same position again, recognizing that a person needs help to escape from a possible dangerous situation, he intends to continue to do his job to the best of his ability.

'That’s what we do.'

Update; 11/14, 8:10 a.m.:

The injured firefighter is Dean Casali, according to comments on the Wayland Fire Department Facebook page.

Casali spearheaded the effort to collect and transport supplies to Tuscaloosa, AL, following the April 2011 tornados. He answered Patch's "Five Questions" in June 2011.

Original story:

A Wayland firefighter will spend the night in the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Wayland woman has been arrested on charges she threw hot oil in the firefighter's face.

Wayland Fire Chief Vinnie Smith said in a press release that the firefighter, whose name was released by the department, does not appear to have life-threatening injuries, but will be evaluated by an eye and ear specialist after at least one night in the hospital.

Wayland police have arrested 72-year-old Rita Warren of 1 King St., Apartment 1 in Wayland. She has been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a public employee. She was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday at Framingham District Court, but her status is unknown at this time.

According to the fire department press release, Wayland firefighters responded to a call at 6:04 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, regarding a smoke issue at 1 King Street. The resident said an appliance seemed to be causing the odor, but firefighters didn't locate a problem.

About six hours later, at 12:20 p.m., a neighbor called to report a gas leak in the apartment that firefighters had visited earlier in the day. Firefighters once again responded.

This time, firefighters noticed that a gas stove was in use, but unattended, the press release reads. They also smelled hot oil and saw through the window a "slight smoky haze inside the home."

According to the press release, a crew of firefighters entered the home to turn off the stove and search for the occupant. Once inside, they found the home "in disarray," with the television knocked over and items strewn about.

When a firefighter located Warren in the living room of the apartment, the press release reads, she threw a frying pan of hot oil into his face and eyes. The firefighter was escorted from the residence and received first aid outside before being transported to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Chief Smith reports in the press release that the firefighter is in stable condition. He said that more information may be available later.

"The thoughts and prayers of Wayland’s Public Safety Departments are with him and his family," Smith said in the release.

Richard P Turner November 14, 2012 at 05:33 AM
I hope that he is will be ok my prayers go out to his family
Wayland resident November 14, 2012 at 01:07 PM
This is horrible! I really hope that he has an easy recovery!
Pat November 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM
A terrible situation. I wonder if the woman has dementia. A person living alone with dementia could have no memory of any fire department activity and could think a man in a strange outfit entering the home was breaking in.

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