A huge crowd turned out to Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce Wednesday night to support injured Martin County firefighter Jahwann McIntyre. He underwent another six-hour skin graft surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and his mother says he still has a long road ahead to recovery.
It has been a challenge every day for Ann McIntyre since she got a phone call in the middle of the night, December 27.
"The chief drove to our house, picked us up and drove us to the hospital. I didn't think we could get there fast enough. I thought it was taking forever," she recalled Wednesday.
She arrived at Jackson Memorial hospital to discover her son, 22 year-old Jahwann, was badly burned over 40 percent of his body battling a house fire on Blue Water Way near Stuart.
Family has been by Jahwann's side each of the 32 days since.
"He expresses to us that he's scared and we just let him know that it's ok to be scared," said Ann McIntyre.
What wasn't OK was when Ann discovered that the fire her son was hurt fighting, was deliberately set. The former homeowner, Joseph Haas, was arrested on arson charges last week.
"He had no regards for human life, none whatsoever. He didn't consider that when he set fire to the house, someone had to go out there and risk their lives," said Ann McIntyre.
When Jahwann was in training to save lives, he volunteered at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce at a number of fundraisers.
Wednesday night, with lines snaking out the door, it is the community, responding for this recovering first responder.
"It really means a lot to our family and especially Jahwann appreciates it. It makes him feel really good to know that so many people care and love him," said McIntyre.
Jahwann will be in the hospital another few months before beginning intensive therapy but his mom says he wants to eventually get back to work, as a firefighter.