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Hawaii firefighter suffers third-degree burns while battling fire on her birthday

Lizzy Stabo stepped on a hallow area of ground and landed in a pit of burnt logs and hot embers


By Janelle Foskett

HONOLULU — A firefighter with the Hawaii Fire Department suffered third-degree burns while battling an underground fire.

Lizzy Stabo, a volunteer firefighter for the Hawaii Fire Department, responded to an underground fire at Honu’apo that had been burning for several months, reported KHON2. During firefighting operations, Stabo stepped on a hallowed-out area and landed in a pit of burnt logs and hot embers.

Hawaii Fire Department Fire Chief Kazuo Todd explained the unique conditions: “While it looks kind of normal from the top, actually it’s been burning underground for months and months. … What we don’t realize is certain areas underground basically hallowed out. … Looks almost like dirt and all of the sudden you’re waist-deep and it’s 400 or 500 degrees under the ground.”

Chief Todd said a captain immediately grabbed Stabo and carried her out.

Stabo was air-lifted to Straub Medical Center’s burn unit on Oahu with severe burns on the lower half of her body.

“Obviously, we’re very concerned,” Todd said. “Liz is an amazing volunteer firefighter.”

The incident occurred on Sept. 3, Stabo’s birthday.

Meghann Proue, Stabo’s daughter, said her mom is having scrub surgeries two times a day, “which are very painful,” but that she is in good spirits.

Proue set up a Go Fund Me fundraiser to support her mom’s recovery, which will include a skin graft surgery on Sept. 14.