FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After nearly six months in the hospital, Pete Dern is home. The Fresno fire captain received severe burns when he fell through the roof while trying to put out a house fire. A huge crowd turned out to cheer him on as he left Community Regional Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.
This day for Pete Dern started like the past 163 others, with a round of treatment and physical therapy. The staff of the burn unit needed to make sure he could get up and get around on his own. And he did.
Accompanied by his wife and daughter he made the rounds, thanking and praising those who'd helped him through his ordeal. Outside, he expressed nothing but gratitude to the huge crowd that greeted him.
"Before I go I have to thank at least a thousand people that helped me get here," said Dern. "I gotta thank god for plucking me out of there and giving me a second chance at life. The Burn Unit, I can't even begin to explain how amazing they are."
Dern was burned over 60 percent of his body when he fell through the roof of a burning garage on March 29th. Pete Guadiano was one of the firefighters who raced into the flames to pull him out.
ABC30 asked him, "Did you think he was gonna make it?"
"No I didn't, absolutely not, that was pretty horrifying to witness," replied Guadiano.
Dern has undergone several surgeries, skin grafts, painful treatments. Burn Unit Supervisor Sandra Yovino says he has made a remarkable recovery.
Yovino said, "I've worked with burn survivors for 27 years and Pete is the epitome of what a survivor can be on the other side."
Pete Dern will be coming back to the hospital twice a week, and will continue therapy, for at least another two years.
But all he could think about was going home with his wife Kelly and daughter McKenzie.
Fresno Firefighter Pete Dern Released from Hospital