Update (9:22 a.m. May 9)
As noted by Alan Clark, funeral director and assistant chief for the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department, Smith will be autopsied on Monday in Lubbock, and further information regarding his funeral services is pending.
Update (9:05 a.m. May 9):
Officials with the Alan Clark Funeral Services organization in Beaver, Oklahoma said that Jason Smtih died from his injuries sustained in the accident in early April.
LUBBOCK, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – While her husband is out on a call, Amy Smith does not have a way to contact her husband, especially when he is out fighting a wildfire with the Beaver OK Volunteer Fire Department.
But when Amy Smith noticed unusual activity coming from the mobile application she tracks Jason Smith with while he is out on calls in early April, she knew something was up.
“I noticed that he was driving really fast. I looked at the app and it said he was going 111 miles an hour,” she said. “But, you know, there was so much fire in the area that I didn’t really put it together. I just thought he was driving a water truck extremely fast or something…What happened was the highway patrol had him in his car and was rushing him to the emergency room.”
When Amy Smith arrived at the emergency room in Perryton, she found out that Jason had been badly burned. With that, she expected the worst.
“I didn’t know to what extent honestly at that time,” she said. “I thought I was going to the emergency room to try to tell him goodbye. So, I’m just very thankful that he’s alive honestly.”
Amy Smith’s husband Jason was one of the two Balko, Oklahoma, volunteer firefighters injured during a fire truck rollover in early April while fighting a wildfire in Beaver County. According to previous reports, both Jason Smith and Tyler Morris were burned during the incident and were flown to the burn unit in Lubbock.
Both Jason Smith and Tyler Morris underwent a number of procedures after arriving at the burn unit from the emergency room, Amy Smith said. But what she is grateful for is that her husband is still alive.
“We’re just trying to be strong and we know that we can get through this,” she said. “We’re just grateful that he’s alive and trying to keep our minds on the fact that we’re not planning a funeral. It could have been a lot worse.”
Amy Smith said the community support after this incident has been outstanding, from the donations to the outpouring of love and prayers. She stressed that anytime someone has a need, there are people in the community who are willing to rally around them and support them in any way they can.
“Our community is just a tight-knit little place and everyone just supports each other, no matter what happens,” she said. “I mean, this is not an uncommon thing to just give generously in an instance like this. But I think especially because they were, you know, on a volunteer basis when this happened, it just speaks to people, their generosity and the time that they give up.”
In a statement provided to MyHighPlains.com by Tyler Morris and Lee Ann Morris, they also said they appreciated the community’s support, from the cards sent to them from students to others who are volunteering by taking care of livestock.
“We could not ask to live in a more supportive community,” the statement read. “The continued support and prayers has truly been felt through this time.”
The support has been overwhelming for Amy Smith from a distance. But when asked how she thinks it will feel when she returns to Balko, she said she could not imagine it.
“It’s truly overwhelming from a distance,” she said. “I don’t know how it could be more than this, but I know it will be in person.”
But while it is overwhelming for Amy Smith now, she believes that this incident has opened her eyes to the importance of the roles that Jason Smith, Tyler Morris, and other people throughout the region take as volunteer firefighters, sometimes serving as one of the only sources of emergency response in the area.
“I think everyone is very grateful that we have volunteers that help with things like this, and this accident brings some of that to light,” Amy Smith said, “It’s outside of their full-time job there. It’s a commitment. They, at any moment’s notice, might have to go work a wreck or stop traffic for a wreck or, you know, fight fire or whatever the case may be.”
On Monday, Amy said Jason was supposed to go into surgery for both arms to have skin grafts and Recell again. But, his team of doctors met in the morning and decided he was healing well enough to wait.
“There might be possible surgeries in the future, but they feel like it’s best to wait some of that out and see how it goes,” said Amy on Monday. “His mobility is getting better with his hands. We still have some work to do, but they feel pretty good about the stages that he’s at right now and want to send us home sometime soon.”
When asked how Jason was feeling, she said, “He’s tired. He’s extremely tired but he’s doing good. He’s still pretty uncomfortable, but we’re making a little bit of progress every day.”