Carlos and Victor Medina have multiple scars on their faces and arms where they were burned while trying to escape their burning house in Arvin five years ago. It was July 24, 2007, when 12-year-old Carlos says he and his family were sleeping when an electrical short sparked the flames.
He says fire surrounded the living room of their home on South Comanche Drive. His mom threw their two-year-old sister out the window, and they all ran out, but the two boys and their dad suffered second and third degree burns.
"When we woke up, we really didn't see ourselves until we got out of the hospital, and we saw ourselves with the garments on and everything,” Carlos says. “It was just shocking, you know seeing yourself like that."
Fifty percent of Carlos and his father's body was burned, and 35% of his brother Victor’s body was burned.
"It was hard when I saw my kids with all their skin was falling off," says Yadira Medina, Carlos’ mother.
The family spent four months recovering at the Fresno Burn Center. In 2008, a trip to Disneyland took a load off their minds.
"You had all this stress over here, and like you were worried about what happened and everything,” Carlos says. “Then you get to Disneyland and see all these characters and fun, and it just took it off your mind like nothing even happened to you."
The Make-A-Wish Foundation not only covered the cost of that trip for Carlos, it made his brother Victor's wish to go to Disney World come true too.
“It was like a dream because I always wanted to go to Orlando, Florida," says Victor, a 15-year-old sophomore at Arvin High School.
The Heroes and Helmets for Hope drive helped pay the for the family's entire stay for a week. The getaway was relief that the family is grateful for.
“You see them over there happy and enjoying it,” Yadira Medina says. “It’s like they forget about everything in there."
On Wednesday, you can help families like the Medina’s as local firefighters raise money for the annual Heroes and Helmets for Hope drive, which benefits our local Make-A-Wish Foundation.
City firefighters will collect donations at the corners of Stockdale Highway and Gosford Road, and county firefighters will be at the corners of Olive & Knudsen Drives. You can also donate outside KGET studios from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 22nd and M Streets. A barbecue lunch costs $7. The Original Roadhouse Grill at 8490 Rosedale Highway will be collecting donations too.