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Firefighter struck by vehicle leaves hospital

Sheridan woman says her unborn child OK
By: Patty McAlpin, Reporter
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Sheridan resident Kelly Morris and her unborn child survived a scary brush with death.

Morris, 36 and a firefighter paramedic for the Moraga-Orinda Fire District, was one of three firefighters seriously injured while responding to a vehicle accident on the morning of Dec. 2.

“It was very scary. I saw it coming. It was coming so fast and I took off running. My back was actually to it when I was hit. I’m not sure which vehicle hit me,”

Morris, Capt. Michael Rattery and firefighter Stephen Rogness, were standing off to the side of the road interviewing a driver involved in a non-injury accident when they were struck.

The district initially responded to a non-injury vehicle accident at about 9:25 a.m. Dec. 2 on Highway 24 east of the Wilder Road exit in Orinda. While investigating that accident the district’s fire engine was struck by a car that failed to stop due to extensive rain. This also was a non-injury accident with minor damage to both vehicles. While the firefighters were standing off the shoulder of the highway interviewing the driver, another vehicle lost control, struck the side of the fire engine and rolled into the three firefighters and the driver of the first vehicle, according to Randy Bradley, Moraga-Orinda Fire District fire chief.

“I couldn’t get up because my left knee, foot and lower leg bone were broken and I had torn ligaments in my right knee,” said Morris, who has been with the district full time for 10 years as a firefighter paramedic and four years as a reserve firefighter. “I was thinking another car is going to run over me. Cars were hydroplaning and sliding everywhere and they were all going pretty fast.”

One of her coworkers came to the rescue along with one of the drivers from the earlier vehicle collisions.

“They drug me off the freeway and on to the shoulder,” Morris said.

Morris, Rattery and Rogness were treated at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. The driver that was being interviewed also was injured in the accident and taken to the same hospital with critical injuries.

“I’m glad all three are out of the hospital,” said Bradley. “It appears they will all recover and be back to work at some point. Kelly Morris is a very good firefighter and I look forward to getting her back.

Bradley said one of his ambulances took Morris home to Sheridan Monday because “she can’t walk and we wanted to make her as comfortable as possible.” 

Morris said she couldn’t get into a car because she can’t bend her knees.

She said she also was not able to under go a CT (computed axial tomography) scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) because she is 10 weeks pregnant. So far the baby is all right.

“I have to go to the OB (obstetrics) doctor to find out if I can have an MRI and go from there,” Morris said. “I know just for the fractures it will be six to eight weeks to heal. How fast I heal will also depend on my knees. At least I will be home for Christmas now. I was supposed to work. I think I’d rather be at work.”

Her 2- and-a-half-year-old daughter is helping her stay off her feet.

“She’s trying to be helpful. I tried to get up this morning and she went and told Daddy (Matt Nichols) on me,” Morris said. She told me to stay in bed because my leg is broken.”

Friends and neighbors from the fire district and Sheridan are helping the family.

“We have horses, dogs and a litter of puppies,” Morris said. “I usually take care of them. Matt works on cars and other hobbies when we are home.”

Morris and Nichols work for the Moraga-Orinda Fire District along with one of Morris’s sisters and two of her cousins. Nichols is a captain.

“We have a small district but we are like one big family,” Morris said. “They’ve been very supportive and helpful. We live on the outskirts of Sheridan. I have a few friends here. Matt’s mom will help. Mine will too. One of my sisters will come up this weekend.”