MIAMI — The father of the Martin County firefighter critically burned while battling a fire last month said the family's faith and the community are getting them through a difficult time.
"I want to thank everyone on the Treasure Coast and in Miami for everything that have done," said Albert McIntyre Thursday evening from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where his son Jahwann McIntyre is being treated for burns. "The support has been overwhelming."
Jahwann McIntyre, 22, received third-degree burns to his hands, chin, thighs, abdomen and feet, totaling more than 40 percent of his body while battling a house fire in Stuart on Dec. 27.
On Friday, he is scheduled for another round of surgeries, though the elder McIntyre declined to go into detail.
Albert McIntyre and his wife, Ann, haven't left the side of their youngest child since he was flown to the hospital in critical condition.
"I sleep on one side of him, and my wife sleeps on the other side," Albert McIntyre said.
Jahwann McIntyre, a 2008 graduate of Treasure Coast High School in Port St. Lucie, is in good spirits and attended physical and occupation therapy from 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, his father said.
"He's standing. He's not walking yet."
Albert McIntyre said he and his family are grateful for the community's support.
That help includes Miami-area city officials, who are allowing the McIntyre family to live in a vacant firehouse so they won't have to commute from the Treasure Coast or pay for hotel rooms. Also, more than 400 firefighters on the Treasure Coast and South Florida have traveled to the hospital to offer support since the accident. Miami Beach firefighters held a carwash fundraiser.
"It is overwhelming the love the firefighters have for one another," Albert McIntyre said.
His son's recovery is expected to be a long and difficult one, and doctors estimate his hospital stay to be around 100 days.
"We are a family of faith. We believe that God is going to get us through. You have to put God first and put yourself second."
Jahwann McIntyre has been making progress since he was injured. On Dec. 31 he had successful skin graft surgery to his hands.
On Wednesday, he was moved out of ICU and into a private room.
The rookie firefighter was one of three firefighters injured Dec. 27 in the early-morning house fire at 1151 S.W. Bluewater Way in western Martin County.
A second injured firefighter was treated at the scene and a third was treated and released from Martin Medical Center.
The identities of those firefighters from Station 23, 4181 S.W. Kanner Highway, or a cause of the fire have not been released.