‘Save Dave:’ Stockton Firefighters Fight for One of Their Own

STOCKTON -- Having conquered Yosemite’s Half Dome, competing in mud races and scaling down walls, Stockton firefighter Dave Pruitt was always fearless.

But just three months ago, the brave firefighter with 14 years of experience would have a new battle to fight. The fight for his life.

On February 26, Pruitt's unit was called to a fire. The engineer and paramedic woke up and realized he couldn’t move his left arm. A CAT scan would later show a mass had grown in the right part of his brain.

“It was a rock and a hard place kind of thing because I didn’t know what would be better, to have a stroke or to have a tumor,” Pruitt said.

Doctors determined it was benign but the baseball size mass had taken its toll.

“I couldn’t squeeze my shoulder blades together," Pruitt said. "None of these muscles (left side) in your whole body work.”

Through weeks of therapy he learned to move the left side of his body again. But he would face another health scare, this time a part of his skull was infected.

“It got infected and it got down in the brain and caused swelling again, and I got paralyzed again,” Pruitt told FOX40.

Surgery after surgery, weeks of rehab, Pruitt said he couldn’t have done it if it weren’t for his fellow firefighters and family by his side.

“Real emotional… but it was very nice to have them there because they kept my spirits up,” he said.

His co-workers have also helped him financially, creating a touching video of his career they’ve shared on their Facebook page. They’re hoping to raise money for his medical bills through GoFundMe.

His health may be uncertain but his gratitude never wavers.

“I don’t know how you say thank you enough to all these people,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt said his prognosis is unclear at this time, he’s just taking it day-by-day. While he doesn’t know if he’ll ever be a firefighter again, he hopes that if and when he fully recovers he’ll be able to get back on the job.