Family members say injured firefighter has long road to recovery

Family members say injured firefighter has long road to recovery
Firefighter Dan Ziegler (Source: Rick Schoder)

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - A Jefferson Parish firefighter has long road to recovery after he was injured while fighting a fire in Metairie on Saturday (Feb. 2).

Firefighter Dan Ziegler has been in the hospital since Saturday, when he fell through the roof of an Old Metairie condo complex while fighting a fire.

“The family’s doing the best as could be expected. We’ve been by Dan’s side since the incident. Obviously, we’re all a bit tired,” Ziegler’s brother, Rick Schoder said.

Fire Chief Dave Tibbetts said Ziegler has second- and third-degree burns to his face, as well as his hands and back.

“His recovery has been slow. He’s improving on a daily basis. He has a long road ahead of him. A long road of recovery ahead,” Schoder said.

"He came off the ventilator. He's been able to get out of his bed a little bit and move around and use the restroom, things of that nature. All of those are very important things," Tibbetts said.

Tibbetts said Ziegler was putting a hole in the roof to remove smoke and heat from that floor when he fell.

"A fireman going through a ceiling is like a police officer getting shot," Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni said.

Yenni said he's glad Ziegler's injuries aren't as bad as they could have been.

“As the leader of this parish, and this is one of my employees, yeah, it’s tough for me,” Yenni said.

Tibbetts said investigators believe they've identified the cause of the fire.

"The fire was an accidental, electrical fire. It looks like it was hard-wiring in the attic. We are looking at another electrical issue, but it's safe to say that either one of them, it's an accidental electrical fire," Yenni said

DeLimon Place Condos Property Manager Dotty Thieneman said most of the residents have returned, but there’s still some who need to find somewhere else to live while repairs are made.

“The worst units would be a year, you know. People are making long-term plans for living arrangements, and we do have residents that are still looking for places to live,” Thieneman said.

She said about 40 residents are displaced.

Crews have been out every day to repair the more than 20 units damaged.

"We have a company that is coming in to remediate the building and cleaning up. then we have the construction crew that came in and their first priority was to stabilize the building," Thieneman said.

While Ziegler's family is from Detroit, they say he also has a great family here.

"It's difficult emotionally. I cannot believe the support from the family fire department here," Schoder said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Ziegler’s medical costs.

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