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His 'Best Ice Cube' Ever: Burned Firefighter Battles On

Daniel Lyon, the firefighter severely injured during the deadly Twisp River Fire, is slowly making progress but not out of danger, his doctors said Tuesday.

Doctors at Harborview Medical Center said Lyon has made a big step in his recovery. He has been able to come off a breathing machine and is a lot more responsive.

Lyon’s parents said at a briefing on their son's condition that they’re beginning to see little bits of his humor again. His father, also named Daniel, described how his son reacted when he got his first chip of ice.

“The first one shot out of his mouth. The second one, he goes, ‘This is absolutely the best ice cube I’ve ever had in my life.’ And that was impressive.”

His mother, Barbara, said he asked for the recipe. She said a nurse quipped that it's a family secret.

This was Daniel Lyon’s first season fighting wildfires with the U.S. Forest Service. He was in a fire truck near Twisp when it fell over an embankment and was overtaken by flames. The three others in the truck were killed.

His father says the family is thankful for letters and emails of support that are helping the family as he goes through treatment. And doctors say there’s a long road ahead: Lyon is expected to be in the hospital for two months.

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Dr. Tam Pham said Lyon has been upgraded to serious condition but is in constant pain from burns over 60 percent of his body. Doctors hope he’ll be ready for skin grafts next week, but until then he remains vulnerable to infection, Pham said.

“We take our skin for granted sometimes, but the skin is a major barrier for infection,” Pham said. “And so until that happens we won’t necessarily feel safe. We will be vigilant and try to guide him on the trajectory that we want.” 

Year started with KUOW: 1994