SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – For Edi Marquez, his first job is being a dad. But his second passion is being a firefighter and EMT.
“I love the job,” Edi Marquez said.
He also said he felt a calling for his work when his mom was hit by a drunk driver about six years ago.
“I just didn’t want to be that person on the side of the road, not knowing what to do,” said Marquez.
So for three years, he’s been doing just that — firefighting and saving lives. In late June, he and other Santa Fe County firefighters were sent to the Golden Fire in the East Mountains.
“When we started to get there you could see the plume, it was pretty good size,” he said.
Marquez said he was cutting trees to prevent the fire from spreading when his saw stopped working. While checking it, gas shot out onto his face and arm.
“It just kind of shot gas out at me,” he said, and with one gust of wind, Marquez was covered in flames.
He said he remembered screaming in pain, then running for an open field.
“The guys jumped on me and started throwing dirt on my face and tried to put my arm out,” said Marquez.
But the damage was already done.
“It was my face right here, mostly all this on my side, my neck up to here, and then here on my hand, it took this piece right here,” he said, as he walked through his injuries.
Before anything else, the firefighter said his son was his biggest concern.
“I was thinking he wasn’t going to be able to recognize me, or that I wasn’t going to be able to be there for him,” he said.
The first responder was in the hospital for days and had skin grafting surgery. Meanwhile, his fellow crew members were supporting him each day.
“They’re all like brothers now, and it’s amazing how close of a bond you get,” said Marquez.
He said both his crew and his family are keeping him going, and getting back on the line.
“Thank God I’m still here to continue doing what I love,” he said.
A Go Fund Me has been set up for Marquez and his family.