Manchaca firefighter in coma after crash

A Manchaca firefighter is in a coma after a motorcycle crash. The firefighting community is rallying around him, taking turns standing watch at his bedside in the hospital. They’re asking for your help.

Sam Porter's firefighting gear hangs in his locker untouched since his last shift ended on Sunday morning.

Travis County ESD 5 Chief Chris Barron says Sam got into a crash on his way home.

"It is something I don't want to get a call on again,” said Barron.

Barron says Sam was rounding a bend on West Gate Boulevard when an SUV pulled out in front of him.

His head hit the side of the vehicle. "He hit the helmet right in that area. The helmet that he was wearing was a fully protected helmet all the way around his jaw then it had a visor. Visor came off. Point of impact was so great that it broke the bottom part of the helmet,” said Barron.

In addition to breaking facial bones, Barron says Sam suffered a broken pelvis and wrist. He's been in a medically induced coma ever since. "There was a lot of swelling. He looks like he's been through 100 rounds with Mohammed Ali,” said Barron.

Sam's firefighting family has not left his side.

"There's a continual rotation going on every single day whether it's our crew, Austin EMS, AFD, I don't think there's be a day go by that it hasn't been someone from the fire service there,” said Barron.

Barron says Sam was always happy to come to work. He started out as a volunteer firefighter three years ago. Then he got the training needed to serve as full-time driver/ operator.

The injuries are a huge setback for the 25-year-old. Barron says there is one bright spot--doctors feel Sam is clear of any neurological damage.

"Yesterday they were talking to him and it was reported that he opened his eyes,” said Barron. "There's still some dangerous hours ahead with seeing if the brain swells or bleeds, so far so good things have been in our favor."

While Sam heals surrounding firefighters are participating in "work for Sam day" volunteering to cover his shifts. Barron says his next goal is to cover Sam’s finances.

He's partnered with the Austin Firefighters Relief and Outreach Fund.

"We're hoping to raise $50-thousand dollars to at least set some type of baseline in place so Sam can use it whenever he needs it,” said Barron.  "That's part of what we are. We're there to serve others. We're going to be serving that family and serve his brother, sisters and mother to make sure all their needs are met."

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