California firefighter seriously injured after large tree falls on him

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FRESNO, California — 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 ( ) 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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