NEW ORLEANS — “He’s alive. First and foremost, I said to myself, he’s alive.”
Rick Schoder’s older brother Danny Ziegler is in the hospital recovering from third-degree burns to his hands and face.
“If anybody can visual a burn victim, I’ll describe it that way,” Schoder said.
On Saturday, the Jefferson Parish firefighter affectionately known as Ziggy was responding to a fire at an apartment complex in Metairie when the roof gave way underneath him and he fell into the burning building. Ziegler fell several feet into the flames. He was rescued within minutes and taken to University Medical Center.
“He has a long road ahead of him,” Schoder said. “But his sense of humor is still there. We’ve experienced that over the last couple of days.”
Danny’s sense of humor is helping his family deal with a tough situation. But he’s not out of the woods yet. The veteran firefighters, who has about two decades on the job, is still in the intensive care unit, but he is now off the ventilator.
He’s a strong person,” Jefferson Parish fire chief Dave Tibbetts said. “The progress that he’s made is because he’s so strong. That’s who Dan is.”
“He’s a clown, he makes people smile,” Schoder said. “God willing he will again soon.”
Two separate blood drives and a GoFundMe campaign have been established to help Ziegler and his family.
The first blood drive is set for Friday, Feb. 15 from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. at 709 Girard Street in Mandeville. The second blood drive will be at TicToc Cafe on Sunday, Feb. 17. A time has not yet been set for the second blood drive.
The GoFundMe campaign to help pay for medical bills has topped $61,500 as of Friday morning.
A website has been created to provide additional updates and information on how you can help: www.ziggystrong.com