TAMPA, Fla. — UPDATE: The 5-month old daughter of firefighter Hunter Garcia has died. The family was involved in a serious car crash on Friday.
Hunter Garcia was released from hospital but wife Kayla remains in serious condition.
Officials say everyone was wearing seatbelts and that the baby was properly secured during the crash.
Since then, the Pasco County Fire Rescue has been by the family's side.
"It is unfortunately with an extremely heavy heart that I report this morning that baby Clara has passed away from her injuries. We want everyone to know she was surrounded by her loving family and is supported by the thousands who have come to know her over the past few days," Pasco County Fire Rescue Chief Scott Cassin said.
Pasco County Fire Rescue is now collecting donations to benefit Garcia's family. To learn more or to make a donation, visit https://www.paypal.com/paypalme3/ffcpasco.
The funeral for baby Clara will be held next week.
A crash involving four vehicles in Pasco County Friday left five people injured. We learned Saturday that a Pasco County firefighter, his wife, and their seven-month-old daughter were among the injured, and the toddler is fighting for her life.
- Hunter Garcia, 23, sustained injuries to his face
- Garcia's wife recovering from surgery for broken back, pelvis
- More Pasco County stories
“We really need a lot of prayers," said Corey Dierdorff, public information officer for Pasco County Fire and Rescue. "This little girl is fighting for her life right now and it’s just heartbreaking,”
It was around two o’clock Friday when authorities say a car ran a stop sign at Van Dyke Road and struck an SUV, starting a chain reaction that ultimately involved four cars and sent five to the hospital.
Among the injured was firefighter Hunter Garcia, 23, his wife, and their seven-month-old daughter.
Garcia has been a firefighter in Pasco County for nearly two years.
“We were sitting in the waiting room, about 30 of us last night, and his captain’s phone rang. It was firefighter Garcia calling to try to figure out what he needed to do to get his shift covered. And that’s the kind of guy that he is,” said Dierdorff.
Garcia sustained injuries to his face. His wife, meanwhile, has already had surgery for a broken back and pelvis.
They are recovering from their injuries at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, where their daughter is also being treated.
Dozens of first responders from all departments have stopped by the hospital to let this family know they are not in this fight alone.
“We truly are a family," said Dierdorff. "These men and women spend a third of their lives together and they would lay their lives down in an instant for any one of our families, so when something happens, it hits home.”
The fire department is working to figure out the family’s needs and will provide updates with ways the community can help sometime next week.
The crash remains under investigation.