Injured firefighter continues recovery


Tuesday, April 14th 2009, 11:38 am
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Iowa Tribe volunteer firefighter who was seriously burned while fighting wildfires last week near Wellston remains in critical condition, but family members say he's continuing to improve.
   David Milby, the tribe's fire training officer, was burned over 26 percent of his body Thursday when he and his partner, Jeff Bayhylle, became stuck in a field and couldn't flee the flames that blew over them and their brush rig. Bayhylle was treated for injuries and released from the hospital Thursday.
   "It's the worst roller-coaster ride," said Milby's wife of 20 years, Bonnie Milby of Stillwater. "You hurry over to get to see him and you have to wait."
   She said she spends as much time at Integris Health Burn Center in Oklahoma City as hospital staff will let her, standing at her husband's bedside rubbing the top of his head -- a spot the flames didn't touch. She talks to him and prays. She waits for the swelling of her husband's burned face to go down.
   "I read him cards and tell him who has been here," she said. "He is pretty well sedated."
   Rocky Salim of Edmond, his stepson for 20 years, said the swelling of his face has gone down a great deal since Friday, when he was almost unrecognizable.
   "I know he is going to make it," Salim said. "Everyone is pleased with his progress. He is doing as well as expected."
   Milby, who remains on a ventilator, suffered second- and third-degree burns on his face, arms and back.
   "His face is responding to medical treatment," his wife said. "I would have felt better if it had not burned his face. His arms are pretty badly burned."
   The recovery will be long. He is expected to be in the burn center at least a month, his stepson said.